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Under the Beetle's Cellar (Molly Cates #2)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  573 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
For forty-six days, bus driver Walter Demming and eleven schoolchildren have been buried underground, held captive in the fortified compound of a fundamentalist cult. Deprived of daylight, fresh air and contact with the outside world, they endure the terrifying rants of the cult's leader, the charismatic Samuel Mordecai. He joyfully predicts the arrival of Armageddon - in ...more
Paperback, 339 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Crimeline (first published August 1st 1995)
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May 14, 2011 Stella rated it it was amazing
So, I'm not entirely sure if this book deserves the five star rating I'm giving it, because I read it back when I was in high school, something like fourteen years ago, and I'm not sure if my high school self can be trusted to accurately remember how good the book was. HOWEVER, I've remembered how much I enjoyed this book for all these years, so it clearly made quite an impression on me. It's the story of a war vet turned school bus driver who is kidnapped with his entire busload full of kids by ...more
Ooit in mijn kindertijd gekocht en nog steeds spannend. Leuk boek
Jan 11, 2017 Wendy rated it really liked it
Good read - author developed good characters. Plot is straight from real news: school bus is hijacked, 11 kids & driver are kidnapped and buried under ground. There is no ransom - the kidnappers are a fanatic religious sect who have other plans for the beginning of Armageddon, the end of the world. The police & FBI don't know the bus is buried and, although they know where the sect is, they don't know where the kids are being held. Much of the story is about a beat reporter who interview ...more
Megan (bookslayerReads)
Under the Beetle's Cellar = CAPTIVATING!

Oh, where to begin? This novel captured me from the first paragraph. The title, the plot, Walker's writing style; it all piqued my interest. Walker's descriptiveness made me feel as if I were actually there in the midst of it all, being held hostage in an underground bus beneath the Jezreelite compound. All five of my senses were excited throughout this book...

Sight--I pictured the beetles and worms crawling in the dirt around them.
Smell--I could smell t
Walker, Mary Willis - 2nd in Mollie Cates series

Eleven Texan schoolchildren and their bus driver are captured by a fundamentalist cult, taken to a fortified compound and buried underground, kept alive but only just. Negotiations lead nowhere. Enter Molly Cates, tenacious crime writer with the inside track on the cult leader. But time is running out... Claustrophobic terror alternates with frenzied investigations as the sect's deadline approaches. Post-Waco, post-Okl
Jan 09, 2011 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a donation to the library and I decided to give it a try. A new author for me and a good read. A school bus of elementary students is hijacked by a religious cult and the driver and eleven students are taken to the cult’s compound and secured in an old school bus buried underground under a barn. Mary Cates, a crime reporter who had done an article on cults and the leader of this one gets involved in the rescue which was stymied. The cult’s leader Samuel Mordecai has a specific agend ...more
Reed Stratton
Jun 29, 2009 Reed Stratton rated it really liked it
I don't usually read "genre" books. In grad school I was indoctrinated to believe that real art covers from "literary masterpieces," but I'm sure glad I broke out of that mindset for this book as its the kind of book that makes the world around you melt away so you're completely sucked into it. For most of it, I actually felt like another character in the story world trying to solve the crime before it is too late. The strength here is definitely story.

The writing, however, is just okay. There
Oct 22, 2015 2ChenA rated it it was amazing
Under the Beetle's Cellar is an outstanding novel with a well written rising action. Each chapter seemed to grab my attention even more. The plot was very interesting, and the rising intensity of the conflict seemed to add even more action. The conflict is about a man who takes and school bus and it's riders captive underground. The man believes in the apocalypse and needs to cleanse these elementary school riders and the bus driver of their American sins. A reporter is trying to stop him with t ...more
Mar 15, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
I began this book because I thought it was a mystery and I am a huge mystery fan. However, it could be, what might be thought of as a YA book. It is about a group of school kids that are kidnapped and their bus buried, with the kids in it. It has so many literary references in it that no matter which genre is falls into the genre is elevated.. The title of the book is a literary quote, which I leave other readers to find. Suspenseful and educational. Recommended by my daughter, a high school lib ...more
May 21, 2009 Keri rated it it was amazing
This was such a chilling and awesome book. I think that MWW is an underrated author. The book is modeled after the incident in California where a group of teens decided to kidnap a school bus full of children, back in the 70's. MWW's version is much more scarier as law-enforcement races against time to catch a madman that has taken some of their most vulnerable citizens. This book was absolutely heart pounding and nail biting, as you are plunged into the nightmare with these kids. Don't miss it!
May 11, 2012 Zora rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 29, 2012 Jo rated it it was amazing
Fantastic if you only ever read one book then this is it !!!!!!!!
Eleven Texan schoolchildren and their bus driver are captured by a fundamentalist cult, taken to a fortified compound and buried underground, kept alive but only just. Negotiations lead nowhere. Enter Molly Cates, tenacious crime writer with the inside track on the cult leader. But time is running out…
Claustrophobic terror alternates with frenzied investigations as the sect’s deadline approaches.
this book had me holding my breath
Jodi Lu
Aug 20, 2007 Jodi Lu rated it it was ok
wow i forgot this existed then saw it on here. i bought this in an airport going on a family summer vacation when i was about 15 and only had 8 seconds to find a book on the stand and this one had a bright cover so i grabbed it. i met a cute british boy named dave on that trip--he wrote his address in the inside cover. oh, the book: i think some schoolkids became hostages underground or something but even with that set-up i think it was still pretty tame. but what did i expect? once dave even ca ...more
Dark Star
Nov 11, 2012 Dark Star rated it really liked it
I read a lot of crime stories. Maybe this one got to me more because of the children. Or maybe it was Walter, who quickly became my favorite character in the book.
This was a great crime story. A story within a story. Very riveting, entertaining and interesting to get into the head of a religious zealot.
This is my first Molly Cates story...btw..Molly is very smart character in the book and I really liked how the author portrays this woman. She has a heart and displays much wisdom.
Mar 10, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
We come upon the story here after 11 children and a bus driver have been buried underground for over 40 days inside a school bus. A crazy cult leader has kidnapped them and believes that these children will be the purified lambs that usher in Armageddon on the 50th day. It is the story of the children's experience and the saga of what is going on above ground in the effort to negotiate their release or rescue them. Highly recommended.
Jess B
Jul 16, 2012 Jess B rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book surprised me and grabbed me from the very first page. It may not actually be a five star book but currently I'm still so immersed in the story and characters that I couldn't consider giving it less than that. Maybe my favorite story that I've read this year....other than The Hunger Games.
Sep 28, 2014 Kristine rated it liked it
This was a good read. Nothing special or spectacular, but a good read. I liked the characters and their development. Parts of the story are a little dated, but that can happen when an author writes about current events. When I finished reading the book I discovered that this is actually number two in a series. I will probably check out book number one.
Jan 06, 2009 Cali rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure
I really liked this book, and would have given it 4 stars except that the language is pretty shocking throughout. It is a riveting, fictional, story of a group of school kids and their bus driver who are taken hostage by a religious cult. It is a little slow moving, but intriguing just the same. If foul language doesn't bother you than I would definitely recommend it, otherwise steer clear.
Feb 22, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Although it was more derivative than this, I preferred the first installment of the series to this one. Although characterization and the action scenes far outdid "The Red Scream"'s. A good book and I'll recommend it.
Aug 13, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel a lot. People complain about the language, but I read it in translation and the translator must have been good because I didn't react to that at all. It's a well turned out story.
Feb 07, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at a used book sale and could not believe how good it was. Would definitely recommend to anyone who likes a well written mystery/thriller. Started me reading all of this author's books and I have not been disappointed yet.
Dec 28, 2007 Brigitte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I loved this thriller. It's fast-paced and you're almost scared to find out what happens next. You keep rooting for the characters and you feel kinda sorry for Mordecai. It's a whirlwind of events and you can't wait to get to the finish.
Tia Pirkl
May 30, 2016 Tia Pirkl rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have read by Mary Willis Walker and I'm completely impressed. The character development was fantastic. The three main characters became completely real to me. I want more. I loved this book. It was perfect.
Stephanie Cox
Oct 17, 2012 Stephanie Cox rated it liked it
This book was a surprise. I picked it up on a whim. It turned out to be a pretty good story. It deals with a cult who is holding 11 school children and their bus driver hostage.
Feb 15, 2009 Penny rated it really liked it
This book won both the Anthony and Mcavity awards and is one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read. A real I-can't-put-this-down-until-I-finish-it book but you don't want it to end.
sara warner
Jul 24, 2010 sara warner rated it liked it
Shelves: set-in-austin
read this Austin author too long ago to remember much more than it was cool that these were all set in Austin.
Jan 25, 2010 Gail rated it it was amazing
This book was fanatastic. The bus driver was a hero, and the children were amazingly brave and resilient. I loved the characters, the plot was different, and the author writes like a dream.
Aug 19, 2007 Randa rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I liked the storyline and the plot of this book. Apart from the necessary action sequence, it could have been a real story. The pace of the storytelling is also good, I read it almost in one sitting.
Renee Pawlish
Aug 15, 2011 Renee Pawlish rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read, I even wanted to cry at the end. That's incredible writing! It's a great story, a great mystery, and you won't want to put it down.
Sep 13, 2009 Ken rated it it was amazing
This is a story you will never forget....I recommend highly!
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Mary Willis Walker is the author of Zero at the Bone, which won both the Agatha and Macavity awards and was nominated for an Edgar; The Red Scream, winner of the Edgar Award; and Under the Beetle's Cellar, recipient of the Hammett Prize, the Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she is now at work on her fifth novel.
More about Mary Willis Walker...

Other Books in the Series

Molly Cates (3 books)
  • The Red Scream
  • All the Dead Lie Down

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