Posts Tagged ‘frazer lee’

theluciferglass

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 57 Pages

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

Daniel Gates is known as a “fixer”, someone who uses a variety of skills in order to collect obscure artifacts for his clients. He recently completed a high stakes mission in obtaining a a mirror made from human bone for a powerful corporation and is set to collect his payday before he is offered another job – travel to an obscure Scottish distillery to obtain a large bottle of mysterious whisky known as The Zero Malt. Gates is unable to turn down the offer with the promise of quadrupling his fee and having his history wiped clean with new papers.

Gates boards a train to Scotland and with plenty of time to kill and daydreams about calling it a career after this one more job swirling around his head. He decides to take a peek at the package given to him by Rothschild to use in exchange for more of The Zero Malt. The book is a custom leather-bound book that bears the marking “Choronzon’s Grimoire” and is filled with handwritten script that details the history of numerous occult objects and is full of indecipherable drawings. It is here that Gates discovers the true meaning of the mirror he handed over to Rothschild.

Gates loses the book on his travels but decides to take the meeting anyway, hoping he can salvage the deal with some smooth words and a more enticing offer. When he arrives on the island of the famed distillery, he is stunned by what he finds. Abandoned on the island with no way back, Gates has no choice but to try to make a deal. The distillery is seemingly empty, but Gates can’t shake the feeling that someone or something is watching him. What follows is a fever dream of events that finds Gates struggling for survival as he is plagued by horrifying visions that make him question his sanity.

Gates is an interesting character, a suave confident jack of all trades who has connections to black market items. He is a shadow, someone who manages to get his business cards to potential clients at just the right time. The air of mystery around him is what immediately draws the reader in, but what makes him standout is his very realistic portrayal. He has very real faults and has made numerous mistakes throughout his life and career. Despite his professional reputation and the things that he has undoubtedly seen, he also doesn’t seem to have all the answers. He finds himself in very real danger and at times you begin to see a vulnerability appear in him.

Lee is a supreme talent when it comes to building a sense of atmosphere and that is evident not only in The Lucifer Glass, but his other works as well. His writing is detailed and full of rich imagery that engages all the senses and helps immerse readers in the worlds that he creates. The novella format works extremely well for The Lucifer Glass, creating a fast-paced read that quickly drops the reader into a world of psychological horrors. While certain aspects of the story seemed to be a bit confusing at times, I thought The Lucifer Glass was a fun read and I think it will appeal to those who enjoy occult-based horror. Lee has at least another two books planned in the Daniel Gates universe, but I hope the stories continue well beyond that!

Rating: 4/5

LINKS

Frazer Lee’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase The Lucifer Glass on Amazon

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jackinthegreen

BOOK INFO

Length: 272 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Tom McRae is a man who is definitely down on his luck. His marriage is crumbling around him, he is plagued by nightmares from his childhood after witnessing a brutal attack that left him orphaned and is content with avoiding the spotlight in his mundane office job for The Consortium Inc. However, one day he is finally called into his boss Mathers’ office. Tom is perplexed because no one gets a glimpse of Mathers’ office, The Chairman of Consortium is an elusive man who always making address via the Internet and is hardly in the office. When he gets there, he is immediately aware of why he was chosen. Mathers has a special assignment for Tom. His name implies a Scottish ancestry and Mathers wants him to use that to his advantage and weave himself into the fabric of the small Scottish village of Douglass in order to negotiate a land purchase for the company’s biofuels division. Mathers believes Tom’s name and ability to assess risks make him a secret weapon in their attempt to make money. When he goes to meet with Monroe from the legal department, who already visited Douglass, he is shocked to hear a crash and witnesses Monroe’s body sprawled on the lower floor. As he attempts to comfort Monroe, the lawyer offers an ominous warning – “He’s in the trees…he’s…waiting….”

Tom is tasked with heading to Douglass with his co-worker Dieter, a man he cannot stand, serving as his driver. The trip starts off with a protest in which their car is surrounded and it takes an act of desperation to escape unscathed. Once Tom and Dieter arrive in Douglass, they check in to The Firs, the only lodge that is still open in the secluded village. Holly, an employee at The Firs, introduces Tom to the legend that seemingly drives the town of Douglass. She takes him to a secluded clearing where he witnesses two giant firs joined at the root that are dubbed by residents as the “Jack Tree and Jill Tree” tree. She details the folklore behind the tree and explains that this weekend is Sow-when, a holiday that is ingrained in the fabric of Douglass and brings the seemingly sleepy village to life. Residents set up booths to sell homemade food and decorate their homes with pumpkins, squashes and scarecrows of all different designs. Even though it breathes life into the town, you get a sense of unease that something dangerous is lurking beneath the surface.

Tom slowly seems to become a part of the Douglass community, but a series of hair-raising events and his recurring nightmares put his standing within the community in jeopardy and nothing in Douglass is quite what it seems.

The characterization in The Jack in the Green is excellent and Lee’s portrayal of Tom creates an intriguing main character that is more complex than he seems on first glance. While he is a man who seems to be plagued by fear and indifference, Tom occasionally exhibits an inner strength. Throughout his interaction with stakeholders in Douglass, such as Lithgoe, he exhibits a tenacity for striking deals and mitigating risks that is a stark contrast to how he handles his personal life. Then there is the mysterious hermit of Douglass, Cosmo. Cosmo is an interesting character, an ex-military man who  has taken up residence in a ramshackle cabin located among the village’s famed fir trees and attempts to atone for the atrocities he has committed. I don’t know if it is intentional, but it seems like Lee is laying the foundation for an underlying mythology that weaves its way into each novel’s DNA. The secretive, multi-national corporation known as The Consortium makes an appearance in The Jack in the Green and many readers will remember the company from Lee’s debut The Lamplighters. Whether it is intentional or purely a coincidence, I still thought it was an interesting story element as some of the events regarding the corporation raise some interesting questions.

I was once again impressed with Lee’s cinematic approach to storytelling, which manages to transport the reader into the world he has created. That is the strength of Lee’s attention to building up the setting in his novels. He takes idyllic locations – like the lavish luxury of Meditrine Island in The Lamplighters or the lush forests of Douglass, Scotland in this novel – and manages to warp them with terrifying evil. However, despite the sinister nature that lurks in each of these locales, you can’t help but feel captivated by their portrayal.

I have enjoyed all of Lee’s work, but The Jack in the Green is by far my favorite! Lee strikes the perfect balance between the psychological horror that plays out as Tom’s nightmares seem to bleed into reality and vicious violence and gore. Lee only doles out the gore when necessary and it serves as a jolt to the nervous system. Much like The Lamplighters, he lures you in with an atmospheric setting and keeps the reader guessing on where the events are headed. All along I thought I knew where the story was going, but once again Lee incorporates an abrupt twist that changes everything I thought I knew about the novel. Some readers may feel the twist comes out of nowhere, but once everything is revealed, it actually makes a lot of sense. Honestly, I was kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner!  The Jack in the Green has supernatural undertones, but the horror comes from the real world evils and depravity that bubble to the surface toward the novel’s conclusion.

If you are a fan of a good psychological horror novel and don’t mind a little gore, The Jack in the Green is a novel you will definitely want to add to your collection!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Frazer Lee’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase The Jack in the Green on Amazon

thelamplighters

BOOK INFO

Length: 272 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: February 7, 2012

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Lately I have been on a huge Samhain Horror kick and it seems like all the books I have been sent for review and books I have read on my own have been through this publisher. I first started reading Samhain Horror through Hunter Shea’s work and ever since then I have been exposed to a ton of excellent authors. Frazer Lee is a name that has continuously popped up and I have been hearing a lot about his debut The Lamplighters, which was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award in the “Superior Achievement in a First Novel” category. Seeing as how I have been nothing short of impressed with the offerings of Samhain Horror, this instantly became a must-read for me.

The story focuses on Marla Neuborn, a young woman who is desperately yearning for a fresh start. Her life has been littered with tragedy and missteps and she is literally at rock bottom – living in a cramped apartment complex and scraping to get by after losing her job as a nanny. Just when it seems she has lost everything, she gets an unexpected call from The Consortium Inc. who offer her a job as a “lamplighter” on the secluded Meditrine Island. The island is home to billionaires who hire people to take care of their mansions in order to maintain their residency. All Marla has to do is clean and maintain the property, a seemingly cushy job that would be a dream come true for anyone. There are only two requirements for the job: a personality test and availability for a year. There is also a secrecy clause that prohibits Marla from knowing the exact location of the island and there is no contact with the outside world. This last requirement should set off warning bells in any horror fan’s mind as a clue that this is no ordinary island! What makes it creepy is that the island seems to not exist. There is no mention of it on the internet and is not visible on any map or Google Earth. Once Marla arrives on Meditrine Island, she meets up with another fellow Lamplighter named Jessie. Jessie has been on the island for a while and shows Marla the ropes and fills her in on some of the secrets of the island, such as the fact that there are security cameras hidden throughout the island. As Marla and Jessie begin to investigate elements of the island, they slowly begin to realize that there may be more to this job than meets the eye.

The Lamplighters is one of those books that is difficult to review because discussing what makes this story great would reveal huge spoilers about the book. What I can say is that while much of the book seems to explore similar themes as other horror works, it is far from a rehash of genre tropes. Lee puts his own unique and horrifying spin on these themes and crafts a stunning conclusion that you will have to read to believe. The novel builds suspense gradually, creating a sense of impending terror that looms throughout the story. While The Lamplighters mostly utilizes suspense and an intriguing mystery behind the truth of the island to move the story forward, Lee also incorporates gore and violence in a way that enhances the story and does not seem overbearing.

The characters were all believable and well described, but it is a character known only as the Skin Mechanic who steals the show despite getting little face time throughout the novel . This is easily the most frightening character of the novel and his description and what he is capable of is utterly frightening and seems ripped straight from the darkest depths of nightmares. It may not be today or even relatively soon, but I fully expect to have the Skin Mechanic pop up in my nightmares in the very near future! Lee is releasing a prequel novel titled The Skintaker in April that explores the origins of the Skin Mechanic and I am definitely looking forward to learning more about one of horror’s most original villains.

While I highly enjoyed this novel, it is the sort of novel readers will either love or hate. While there is plenty of action and a great mystery behind the story, it can seem to move slow at times. Readers who don’t mind slow building tension will love it and those looking for a faster paced story may leave feeling disappointed. There is no denying that Lee is a talented writer and his background as a screenwriter is evident throughout the pages of the novel. This would make a really great movie and while I already mentioned my excitement for The Skintaker, I think I am even more excited for the planned sequel to The Lamplighters!

Rating: 4/5

LINKS

Frazer Lee’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase The Lamplighters on Amazon