Cover Image: Gothic


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Member Reviews

Gothic is a mesmerizing tale that took me on a dizzying descent into madness. The prologue grabbed me with its thorny tentacles and I was hooked. The next thing I knew, I was finishing the book with its nightmarish images burned into my brain. I'm not kidding. I couldn't look away. I lost time. I was possessed by this book, by that desk, by the darkness spreading from Fracassi's mind. 

Philip Fracassi writes with a style that is so easy to read. In Gothic, he keeps the chapters short, so things can just hum along. He builds characters and suspense early on with a slow burn, giving glimpses of the horrors to come. Then things build and chaos ensues at the climax in classic Fracassi fashion. 

I've come to expect old school horror from PF and this one delivers once again. He is spinning tales that are a throwback while at the same time feeling totally new. Gothic is everything I need in a horror novel. Highly Recommended!
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[Blurb goes here]

Gothic is a novel proposition, written in beautiful prose.

Mind you, it takes a long, long time to get to the good part. And before doing so, Fracassi turns his main character into someone you'll be no longer interested in following through his ordeal. The man "Tyson," wallows in self pity, but the author doesn't seemed to try to get into this man's psique, what drove this guy over the edge? What pathology does he suffer from, to be who he is now? No. We only get to read about the circumstances surrounding his failed life.

Obviously Fracassi tells us that this man used to be a great writer, but is now past his prime. And, of course we get to know about the man's personal and financial difficulties. Fracassi keeps reminding us of the fact, every other page. To me, at least, it was difficult to relate to this person. Tyson is not a likable character. Not from the start. For instance: he gets a book commission, after presenting a clear outline of what the new book is going to be about. Ends up writing something entirely different. Isn't it obvious that his failure is the result of his own actions? Oh, but he's convinced that writing the wrong story is going to end well, somehow. it doesn't...obviously. A few chapters in, and you'll be fed up with this guy, which makes it difficult for the reader to keep on going.

Still, most of us would soldier on,, begging that the author finally gets to the "meaty" part. He does. This is where things go from boring and repetitive, to interesting and fast paced. This is when the book finally stops the long and tedious countdown, and the book shoots out into space.

So, in short: Tyson receives a new desk from his girlfriend, one that used to be an ancient altar for long gone evil doers. Tyson starts writing like he's never done before. His personality changing more and more, every day, turning him into a despicable person. Something I didn't mind, since, as I've said, there's no way you'll be rooting for this guy. Be it by purpose or by accident...though I'm incline to think it was the latter, the author makes Tyson simply unpleasant. Any way, Tyson ends up loosing every one around him, as these things tend to go. His new books start changing the reality of those who read them, for the worst. There is evil lurking between the pages, evil coming from the altar, waiting to be released as the reader dwells into them.

Do I recommend this book? That's a hard one. If you're willing to put up with the fact that it's going to be dull for a while, before it gets real good, by all means, go for it.

Thank you for the free copy!
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A sinfully delicious gothic of a cursed relic that mysteriously ends up in a has-been author’s study. This tale brings a horror to life that has you glued to the pages and unable to look away.
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Gothic feels like a throwback to those sordid 1970s horror novels but with modern sensibilities. A carved desk that's really an ancient altar that possesses a horror author when he writes. Nobody pens books like that anymore. Not only does this have that 70s aesthetic, but it's written so much better than the majority of what was published back then. It begins with a wealthy woman who has hired PIs across the globe to track down an ancient family relic who finally gets the message from her man in New York that he thinks he found it. Cue Tyson Parks, a one-time best selling horror author whose books no longer sell like they used to. After trying to pawn off a manuscript to his agent he's told in no uncertain terms that he isn't meeting the contractual obligations with the publisher and he better try again or there will be consequences. Lucky for him his life partner has found the perfect gift for his upcoming 59th birthday - a unique black desk with a stone top and intricate carvings. This desk may just be what Tyson needed, as when he sits down at it he goes on a marathon writing binge, cranking out a novel like he hasn't in decades, one that is sure to reinvigorate his career. But he's also changing, becoming angry and aggressive to those he loves. What price will need to be paid to his new muse? This story was fiercely engaging and its plot unreeled at a speedy clip. I almost couldn't put it down. Gothic is a modern take on old school horror told the way it was meant to be.
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Every once in a while, you come across a book that you know will haunt you long after you've finished it...Gothic is that book. I am still in shock after reading it so I will do my best to give it the review it deserves. 

The main character is a well-known bestselling author who hasn't been able to produce the same bestselling works in a while. His agent is depending on him to finish his book and gives him an insane deadline. So of course, the man is stressed. His loving girlfriend decides his needs a new muse, some inspiration. So, for his birthday she buys him an extravagant desk, not knowing the dark history of the object. 

First, the lore behind the desk was so interesting and set such a tone for the book that I was invested in this story just from that alone. I love horror stories with haunted objects, and this gave me everything and more. 

I will say that the story did give me The Shining vibes, which is one of my favorite horror novels to this day. The stressed, writer slowly descending into madness is very present in this novel. I absolutely loved this book. Also, the gore was so well done. 

I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys horror especially fans of The Shining. This is my first Phillip Fracassi novel, and it won't be my last. Looking forward to reading more of his horrifying and amazing work.
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A grim gamut of suffering, Gothic is one of fracassi's finer works.

When Tyson Parks struggles  with horror writing, his reception of an antique desk begins to have a grim effect upon him. As his writing becomes more disturbing, Tyson experiences newfound success at the detriment of his mind. At its core, Gothic is a story of success and what it can do to a writer, through the grim struggles of the human condition.

And Tyson's descent into madness is so exquisitely written. While the writing style is initially somewhat opaque, to persevere is to achieve an understanding of a dizzying decay of thehuman condition. Fracassi handles this with utter skill, with the horror both the dark recesses of Tyson's mind and his spiraling insanity, as well as the external factors that refuse to allow him to recover.

What is success if it comes at such a cost? That is the question Gothic answers.
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dnf at 22%

this was my first book by Philip Fracassi and ngl i’m a bit wary to pick up the next one by him lol. i’ve seen the cover of this book on netgalley and thought right, this looks good, but oh well… the story within didn’t capture me 😂

these were my issues with the book:
« going back in time to 1700s. that was the main thing that put me off continuing. soon as i saw the going back in time note, i was like oh no… i don’t want this 😩 i just didn’t care at all.
« it takes too long for the horror part to take place. i love books that start right off being creepy or at least takes a few pages to roll into horror. it’s just my preference tho 🤷🏻‍♀️
« the main character Tyson was a tad annoying with his self-pityness. he kept moaning about the same shit page after page. i understand why, but instead of being a crybaby, maybe sit down and actually try to think of a new story and at least work on it, take notes etc ??? he came off to me as just wanting the others to take pity on him instead of trying to put actual work and that was annoying as hell.
« the going back and forth between Diana and Tyson wasn’t really picking my interest at all either. 

in conclusion, i guess this book just isn’t for me. people on goodreads seem to enjoy it, so again, maybe i’m in the minority here 🤷🏻‍♀️
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Review Copy

Do you like a slow burn novel as much as I do? You know, one that's so descriptive the characters jump off the page and you can see everything the author mentions? That's GOTHIC, Philip Fracassi's newest horror novel.

His pacing is perfect. The first third of the book is set-up and introduces the characters. There is no confusion between characters - they are not cookie cutter and all are their own person. Then he dives into the meat of the story and you will begin to realize that all is not what it seems. Watch out for that last third of the book. Don't make plans and be prepared to read in one sitting. The horror happens throughout the novel, but that last part is a warp speed ride into terror .

I closed my kindle feeling a satisfaction I hadn't felt with horror in years. Absolutely incredible writing and story! Highly recommended.
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A good old fashioned cursed object tale (and who doesn’t love those?) Reminiscent of early EC Comics, Twilight Zones and Stephen King.

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2.5 stars. 
This book was well written and has some disturbing prose, but the story just didn’t come through for me.
The lore behind the desk ended up feeling irrelevant to the story, and there were so many unresolved plot points. I felt that there wasn’t enough build up to the desk taking over Tyson, and I was ultimately left with more questions than answers by the end of the book.
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A great horror piece! 
I loved the story and the development of it, which I felt was cleverly written. 
The really created a sense of doom and suspense throughout. 
If you like horror it’s a great read comparable to my favourite horror writers, such as Stephen King and James Herbert.
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As a horror writer myself, the whole premise of this novel had me hooked. A former best-selling author, now run dry, turns his life around when he is gifted a mysterious desk as a birthday present. As writers, we all experience that sense of dread from time to time, so I could well imagine the MC's euphoria when he discovered that suddenly the words just flowed. Another bonus for me was the use of the desk as a magical item/cursed object with a life of its own. Anthropomorphism is always a winner if done well, and it was done well. Exceedingly so.
The opening chapters had me hooked, then we were provided a bit of back story. When we arrived at Part Three and the back story, I have to admit my heart sank a little, because I thought the rest of the novel was going to travel back and fore in time. However, this was not the case, and the back story was entirely necessary.
With the arrival of the desk the story moved up another notch, and I found myself more and more engrossed. Tyson's lust for greed and fame is his undoing. We sense this, we feel it in our bones, but when an opportunity arrives to undo the damage I willed him with all my heart to grab it with both hands, knowing all the while he wouldn't.
Did I sympathize with the MC? No, for the reason stated above. Could I empathize, though? Yes.
To sum up: well written, as I knew it would be. Great story-telling and just the right amount of horror.
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GREAT book! Phillip Fracassi is quickly becoming a modern day master of the Horror genre, no doubt about it. He has a completely original voice, but you can feel the influence of those greats who came before him. I would love to know who his biggest influences are. GOTHIC is everything I love in a Horror novel. Pervasive evil.... So many genuinely scary moments. I loved this book. You will also if you're smart and grab a copy when it comes out!
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I now consider Fracassi to be a must-read author. And it finished quickly. The success of Boys in the Valley and the release of Gothic confirm Fracassi's reputation as a maestro of twisted, dark comedy.

Tyson Parks, a renowned author, is the subject of Gothic, a tale about a waning career. Due to his declining book sales, he has gotten accustomed to a particular lifestyle that is now all but unaffordable. Despite having a loving family and everything he truly needs, he feels elderly and helpless. His fortunes drastically change when his close lady friend gives him a stunningly sculpted, deep dark wood desk for his birthday.
Its central theme is the harmful power of obsession, as well as addiction and compulsion. It examines the destructive implications of excessive power.

I was smitten. I wasn't prepared for how dark, gory, and entertaining it was. You must always be aware of what will happen next so that you are never disappointed. If you're looking for the typical Hollywood resolution, you won't find it in Fracassi since he subverts expectations. There are drafts written by a desperate author grasping at a last-ditch effort. Additionally, Hellbound Heart possesses a cursed object that unlocks a door to an undesirable location.

Each page of this page-turner forces you to reevaluate your views on power and love. It's equally heart-pounding and thought-provoking. You could just relax and take it easy. It's a good one with lots of shadows. Even though such dim corridors are dark, they are nonetheless stocked with objects. Things that continue even after you stop yelling, reaching and tearing.
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This is a great example of a straight up, no holds barred, unrelenting horror book. You will not misclassify this as a thriller or drama. This is horror done right and truly (no matter how overused this expression may be) reminded me of early Stephen King. 

From the character development, the terrifying plot, and unflinchingly brutal narrative, this book delivers on all fronts and will surely be the reason for your next few nightmares. 

Nobody will leave these pages unscathed, including the reader! I'm looking forward to a release date and pre-order information so I can give a full review on my Horror Reads YouTube channel. I highly recommend it!
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Philip Fracassi - Gothic

Is there a busier author in world horror than Philip Fracassi at the moment? I doubt that very much. However prolific Fracassi is has had little impact on the quality and sheer range of fiction he has recently released to a sleigh of top-quality publishers.  Gothic comes hot on the heels of the excellent A Child Alone With Strangers (2021) and is available in two formats, the first is a 250 limited edition from Earthling Press (November 2022) which is long since sold out and the trade version which has been picked up by Cemetery Dance for a February 2023 drop. 

Fracassi is obviously a fan of releasing his work as limited editions before later wider releases as he did the same with the superb Boys in the Valley, which was originally limited to 500 copies (which sold out very quickly) but will thankfully get a mainstream release in the summer of 2023. It is a relief that Tor Nightfire have picked up this terrific book as it was far too good to stay hidden away as an obscure collector’s edition. Don’t Let Them Get You Down (Zagava Press) is yet another limited edition, which I haven’t read yet, Fracassi has in the pipeline. 

If you haven’t read A Child Alone With Strangers I strongly recommend you check it out, it has some similarities in style to Gothic in that plot wise it is a throwback horror novel harking back to the glory years of the seventies and eighties. Thankfully that is where the similarities end as Fracassi is too good and stylish a writer to keep recycling the same ideas. A Child Alone With Strangers is undoubtedly a more ambitious work, but that is not being detrimental to Gothic, which has a leaner more self-contained story, with less characters and about half the page length. Fracassi has commented online “I’m hopeful readers of my work (and authors in the vein of King, McCammon, Barker) will enjoy.” The influence of Stephen King is all over Gothic, but personally I compare it to the briefer works of his alter ego Richard Bachman! 

At the heart of Gothic is a blend of two very old horror tropes: the cursed or haunted objects, which is expertly mixed with the idea of selling your soul for untold wealth. Philip Fracassi takes a bit of both and puts it into his exquisite horror blender and gives us a brand-new smoothie called Gothic! It does not matter too much that the idea is not particularly original, because the way in which the story is presented and told is first rate and a guaranteed page-turner which I sped through over a couple of days. Fracassi even has fun with knowing jokes aimed at Stephen King, both the horror author/reader crowd (“Richard Laymon’s novels were exiled to the UK”) and uncannily nails his plot of the novel in one sentence “Can you believe it Tyson? It’s like Christine… but wood!” Or to paraphrase instead of a haunted car, a 1958 Plymouth Fury to be precise, we have a possessed desk! It sounds very dumb but in reality the plots of those novels which inspired it were equally preposterous. 

Gothic opens with Diana Montresor getting very excited, she has spies and detectives all over the world trying to track down an ancient family heirloom which was stolen two centuries earlier, with one of her contacts believing he has eyes on it. Meanwhile in New York, Sarah, the long-term girlfriend of washed up former hot-shot horror author Tyson Parks is eyeing up buying her boyfriend a vintage desk for his birthday. He is 59 years old and has not had a hit novel in some years and she hopes the new desk will get his creative juices flowing.  And considering what happens next that is a serious understatement! 

Although Gothic did not hold any major twists and turns it was a hugely enjoyable easy on the eye novel as Tyson Parks moves from being a twitchy has-been with low self-esteem to an all-together different swaggering beast. It was hard to say whether Parks was based on any real authors, more than likely there were snippets of various individuals thrown into the mix, but combined they gave a great portrayal of an author who enjoyed his second wind and was too self-obsessed to see the bigger picture. I am sure we can all think of many authors who had a few early hit and then faded away feeding off former glories and resenting the next generation being invited to conventions before them!

I enjoyed the glimpse into the cutthroat world of bigtime publishing and how easy it is to be cast aside and forgotten (see above), with everybody only being as good as their next hit. The supporting cast and how they revolved around Parks was also first rate, from his relationship with Sarah, to his on/off bond with his daughter Violet. The interactions between the three was very credible and Violet was an empathetic university student who as the plot moved on jumped from the page. The relationship with his agent Harry, and the manner in which the balance of power switches, was also another strength of Gothic.  Strong characterisation has always been a major strength of Fracassi, and even with the plot leans towards the trashy, he does not lower the quality or skimp on the detail or credibility.

And what of the desk itself? It was much more than a hunk of wood and was far from inanimate. What a monstrous and wonderous creation! It breathed, lurked, evolved, oozed, made empty promises, fed on pain and grew ever so powerful as Tyson’s writing career found a second wind. Along the way there were moments of hair-raising gore and the desk drawer scene had me wincing. If you ever read Gothic you will know exactly what I mean. 

Over the last couple of years Philip Fracassi has quickly become one of my ‘go to’ authors and he is equally skilled at writing novels and novellas as he is short stories. If you have never read him both Gothic and A Child Alone with Strangers are great places to start before the rerelease of Boys in the Valley in the summer of 2023. But don’t forget his excellent range of shorter fiction, this guy covers all the literary bases.
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4.5 stars rounded up 

What a masterfully done horror novel! Great atmosphere, complex characters and overall creepy good horror! A page turner if I ever did read one!
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Wow.  Just wow.  

I am not sure I like starting a review like this, but I can not think of a word that better expresses how much I enjoyed this book.

It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the writers writing style, but that is on me (and not him) but once I had, I found I could hardly put the book down.  His use of prose in amping up the atmosphere was amazing, it oozed a "creep" factor that was palpable as I read what was happening.

The glimpse back in time was perfect, good detailing and filled in the gaps to the artifacts history that we had before then.

But the direction the story eventually takes you is one I don't think anyone could guess.  Well, I sure as hell did not anyway.  Loved the ending, it was so different to have a book end like that, it was like a refreshing surprise.

You like horror?  Then this is a must for your bedside table, especially to read in the dead of the night.
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This was such a wonderfully done horror novel, I enjoyed the psychological aspect of this book. The characters were wonderfully done and it was great to see the changes both good and bad in them. The plot was what I wanted from this type of book. Philip Fracassi has a great writing style and I was invested in what was happening in the book. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Fracassi

"Shall I long for thee until I become a flower?” he says under his breath, and the reflection, trapped in the glass, only smiles more broadly. “Shall I wither away? No, old friend, the reflection says coldly, its eyes white as snow. I’m afraid that won’t do. Besides, Narcissus you are not. So, if you’re done caterwauling, do us a favor, will you?
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