Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coldheart Canyon-Clive Barker

Coldheart Canyon
Clive Barker
Harper, Nov 2009, $14.99
ISBN: 9780061769054

Willem Zeffer manages the career of silent film star Katya Lupescu who sadistically took pleasure from others. While in Romania, Willem buys painted tiles from a medieval monastery that graphically show bizarre sexual encounters. He brings them to Hollywood though he is unable to explain to himself let alone his wife why he had to buy the erotic artwork. However, he has them placed inside of Katya’s Coldheart Canyon mansion; which leads to a who’s who of the silent film era coming to her home ostensibly to see the queen of frozen sadism, but deep down each knows they visit to admire the sexual arousing masterpieces.

Six decades since a bewildered Willem brought the tiles to California, movie star Todd Pickett recovers from slipshod cosmetic surgery at Coldheart Canyon mansion. At the same time he wallows in self pity, the president of a Todd fan club, unhappily married Tammy Lauper, decides to visit her recuperating hero to help him heal. Still visiting the mansion are the ghosts of Hollywood legends and wannabes who came to see the artwork of the Queen of Hell condemning a hunter to sexually depravity that gripped each of them when they were alive and continues its fascination well passed their death, a hellish time on earth.

This is a fascinating dark Hollywood ghost story that also pays homage to the legends of the silver screen. The story line is fast-paced and gripping though not particularly as frightening as some of Clive Barker’s previous works. Fans will enjoy Mr. Barker turning Jacqueline Susan and the spirit of Harold Robbins on their respective heads as they are just two of the ghosts of Hollywood residing at Coldheart Canyon.

Harriet Klausner

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