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Member Reviews

Unfortunately this title was not for me and I did end up DNFing. I did not feel that the writing was as strong as much of the author's other work, and I didn't connect with the voice or style at all. I can see how some people would enjoy this and the concept is really cool, but the execution didn't do it for me. Once we got to some of the more triggering content, I felt it would be better suited to other readers.

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Although I believe the term "elevated genre" is a descriptor predominantly used by arch wankers who have about as much poetry in their souls as a toaster oven, I generally enjoy examples of the genre.

You know the ones, horror yarns where the “monster” is actually an allegory for depression or grief or racism etc. Growing up on trashy, violent, splattery, horror, it makes a nice change of pace. A palate cleanser, if you will.

That said, Gothic by Philip Fracassi has reminded me that sometimes, just sometimes, it feels good to read a yarn about a haunted desk mucking up the day for every poor bastard who gets in its way.

Yes, Gothic is a novel that asks the question “What if Stephen King’s Christine… but furniture?”

The story of a struggling horror writer who is gifted the demonic desk in question is just the right amount of silly, combined with some very strong writing from Fracassi, to have me finish the damn thing in three frantic sessions, where I began to wonder if the book was possessing me like the desk does to poor old Tyson Parks.

Brimming with vivid imagery, broad (but likable) characters and an enviable sense of narrative propulsion, this is a hard one to put down. Yes, at times I was replaying Patton Oswalt’s “Death Bed” routine in my head. And yes, the premise does feel like something Garth Marenghi would have come up with (were he not a fictional character) and yet for all that… I was hooked.

A combination of slick writing, razor sharp plotting and Graham Masterson-esque, gleeful lack of restraint - particularly in the final third - makes this a slice of old school throwback horror that you can read without fear of running into overbearing subtext or on-the-nose allegory.

It’s bold, it’s goofy and it tears into your mind like an overeager badger ripping open a Hot Pocket, and friends, I had a blast.

Thanks to Cemetery Dance Publications for the ARC.

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In Gothic, Philip Fracassi has given horror fans a work of pure joy. This novel is everything that you love about horror: Possession. Unintended consequences. Violence. And all done masterfully by an author who is recognized as a rising star in the genre.
The novel follows a past-his-prime author whose professional and personal lives are struggling as he copes with the reality of becoming a has-been, struggling not only to reclaim his former glory, but to simply pay his mortgage. Seeking to inspire the creative within her partner, Sarah gives Tyson a gift, hoping that it will be the muse, the change, that he needs to continue doing what he loves.
Unbeknownst to Sarah, the extravagant present has a dark history, and a power, which will work within Tyson to create a muse that neither of them can control. The chaos and madness that ensues will leave bodies and blood in its wake.
Will anyone survive?
This is one hell of an enjoyable novel. It reminded me of reading King or of watching the latest slasher film. It is both unique and comfortable in the darkest of ways. I would highly recommend this novel as I feel that it will be remembered as the book that Fracassi released right before his talent was truly unleashed.

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This is my first read by this author and now I can't wait to read more.

Gothic is classic horror with a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat and jumping at shadows. It's a fresh take on evil and possession with complex characters and an excellent ending.

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Philip Fracassi
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On his 59th birthday, Tyson Parks—a famous, but struggling, horror writer—receives an antique desk from his partner, Sarah, in the hopes it will rekindle his creative juices. Perhaps inspire him to write another best-selling novel and prove his best years aren’t behind him.

A continent away, a mysterious woman makes inquiries with her sources around the world, seeking the whereabouts of a certain artifact her family has been hunting for centuries. With the help of a New York City private detective, she finally finds what she’s been looking for.

It’s in the home of Tyson Parks.

Meanwhile, as Tyson begins to use his new desk, he begins acting... strange. Violent. His writing more disturbing than anything he’s done before. But publishers are paying top dollar, convinced his new work will be a hit, and Tyson will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound success.

Even if it means the destruction of the ones he loves.

Even if it means his own sanity.

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408 pages, Paperback

First published February 3, 2023

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About the author
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Philip Fracassi
53 books663 followers

Philip Fracassi is an award-winning author and screenwriter living in Los Angeles.

His debut collection of short horror, BEHOLD THE VOID, won "Story Collection of the Year" award from both This Is Horror and Strange Aeons Magazine.

His new collection, BENEATH A PALE SKY, arrives June, 2021, and his debut novel, BOYS IN THE VALLEY, comes out on Halloween day, 2021.

His stories have been printed in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Cemetery Dance, and Nightmare Magazine. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, LOCUS Magazine, Rue Morgue and many others.

His screenplays include the Lifetime thriller Girl Missing and Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, from Disney. Both are available as VOD.

Follow Philip on Facebook and Twitter (@philipfracassi), or visit his website at

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Ratings & Reviews
My Review
Profile Image for xTheBookNookx.
3 reviews
February 2, 2023
I picked up an e-ARC of this book on Netgalley and I am very glad I did.

Philip Fracassi has the talented ability to take readers on a journey that is both disturbing and enticing.

Tyson is a loving family man who writes horror for a living but he has lost his writing mojo over the recent years not being able to create masterpieces like he had in his youth. His publicist is urging for him to create something to keep him relevant, otherwise Tyson's comfortable lifestyle will fall into the depths. After receiving an antique desk from his partner for his 59th birthday, his mojo has come back triumphally and a best seller is on the cards. I guess all that was needed was a bit of change in his environment for some boosted motivation and inspiration? I know I get motivated and inspired when I have dusted off the cobwebs and rearranged the furniture.

Well... he certainly got that inspiration he needed but maybe not in the way he or his family was expecting. Commence weird dreams, a fresh out of the box scary version of Tyson and to top it all off a strange new 'friend'.

The book has a mixture of Stephen King's descriptive suspense and spiralling madness from The Shining and Hammer Horror film vibes which give it a raw and gritty atmosphere. The book is gory in parts but the horror didn't come from physical scares for me, it was the psychologic scares that made this book disturbing in the best way possible and being able to see how Tyson's actions really impacted his family. I loved the small snippets of Tyson's thought process when he is not quite himself, it really unravels the slow descent into the insanity he is on the verge of falling into. I was very engrossed with the story and there were moments of pure shock that kept me on the edge of my seat. I grew up reading and watching horror so am very familiar with the kind of tropes and scenes you would come across and this book does touch on some not so pleasant scenes, but without them I'm not sure the book would have had the same impact.

I enjoyed the pacing of the story as it offered enough for me to create a constant imagery map so I could sink in and really grasp onto the storyline, feel the characters emotions and get the wow factor from the disturbing moments. My favourite character is Tyson and I went into this story with expectations of his character and I received them and more. It was like saying hello to a slightly more wicked and sinister Jack Torrance.

Philip is for sure going to be one of my go to horror writers from now on and I am excited for his new releases and catching up with his already published works.

Thanks again for a great ride on the spooky train. I give this book a solid 5 stars!

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I’ve read and loved a lot of Philip Fracassi’s short stories, so when I found out he was releasing a novel, it automatically became a HIGHLY anticipated book for me. I was eager to literally get my hands on a copy of Gothic.

I was nervous that a novel about the journey of a horror writer would be too reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining However Fracassi managed to write a very unique story while still giving a nod to King. Diving into the life of a writer naturally leads to reflections on the writing process and publishing industry that I appreciated.

There is a lot of religious imagery in this book as an altar plays a huge role in this story. The violence is beautifully choreographed with Fracassi’s use of language. Fracassi definitely writes the kind of sentences that the reader just wants to linger over, however the story is so intriguing and suspenseful that the pages keep turning.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book. I also have to give a shout out to the cover art by Kealan Patrick Burke. I definitely have a weakness for horror novels with great cover art and the art on the cover of this book is STUNNING! I originally obtained an advanced digital copy through Net Galley but I loved the cover so much that I wanted to hold a copy of it in my hands. The result was that I waited to read it until I was able to purchase a copy through Cemetery Dance Publications Fracassi’s writing style was definitely worth the wait!

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I'm a big fan of horror, and when I found this one on NetGalley, I knew I needed it. The twisting, mutating grossness of this tale helps to add to the atmospheric horror of Gothic by Philip Fracassi. All of the twists and turns put me in the mood for autumn and Halloween, and I was so happy to have had the opportunity to read and review this work of art.

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A horror writer receives a desk as a gift, but it's haunted... and it demands BLOOD!!!! So his descent into madness begins!!! Pretty cool premise! It's a slow burn at first, but it picks up after 150 pages or so, and it gradually starts getting darker and more brutal. I really enjoyed it! Plus, that cover is stunning! 🤩

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True to it's word this felt just like old school horror. It was eerie and left you feeling like "what did I just read?"

It was a fun read that I'll definitely be recommending to horror fans.

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Thank you to Cemetery Dance Publications for providing me with an e-ARC of Gothic!

You ever read a book and just know it's going to be a classic? That's exactly how I felt about Philip Fracassi's Gothic. Me reading a fairly long novel and actually vibing the whole time, even during slow moments, is very rare & I'm just so thankful that Fracassi came through and reminded me why I love this genre so much.

Gothic centers around the idea of a horror author crumbling apart & going bat-shit insane (see: The Shining), but with its own twist and style. I really don't know what else to say besides the fact that Philip Fracassi did That. There's a wonderful amount of horror and fantastic development in both story and the characters. It was very well-written & I was just here for the entire ride.

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Did not expect to enjoy a horror novel about a haunted, possessed desk so much. It's like if Hammer Horror had done the movie Oculus- campy in all the best ways possible, fun to read, and with just enough of a creep factor. This is pure, pulpy fun and I very much recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

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What a ride! A slow burn, classic horror story that I found both disturbing and invigorating. Yes, I need more Philip Fracassi in my life.

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My thanks to Netgalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for the opportunity.

And thanks also for introducing me to a new horror author, Philip Fracassi, whose new work, "Gothic" was foreboding and spooky enough to match the title, but equally gruesome and graphic enough to appease the modern horror reader.

The novel is the story of a famous, middle aged horror novelist, past his prime and out of creative juices to pen the next big thing. He's already spent his advance on the next book, which isn't written yet, and bills are coming due. Yet, he can't seem to ask for help from his beloved girlfriend of many years, or his college-aged daughter, whom he adores more than life itself.

All of this comes unglued when Tyson's girlfriend buys him an expensive antique desk for his birthday as a surprise. A dark desk with a shiny stone surface and intricate carvings with faces and strange glyphs on the side. A desk that seems to emanate power, and whose carved faces move upon closer reflection. A desk that completely changes the writer's life forever.

So, yea, the trope is a used one: a struggling artist finds inspiration, fame, and wealth through a possessed object, only to rue this discovery in the end. But Fracassi does this story so well, that the characters and the desk come alive, and I was caught up in the story of this demonically charged object. The last chapter of the book was amazing, and the ending lines of the epilogue were pure gold.

I very much look forward to more works by this author!

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What a ride! This book creeped me out, but in a good way, and I loved the vintage vibes. I've already recommended this to a few friends who like books in this vein, and honestly you can't go wrong with Philip Fracassi. The man knows how to write a good story and he's in top form here.

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And incredibly creepy throwback. There is a reason Fracassi is one of the best horror writers... so good.

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Starting out with an Eminem quote left a bad taste in my mouth right away and then nothing changed that at all for the rest of the time reading.

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DNF at 38%

I could not get into this book at all. I enjoy slow burn but this was the slowest of slow burn, at least for me. I also thought there could have been some serious edits done to this book. There were so many unnecessary details and the details that were necessary were not fleshed out.

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Fun, riveting read! It was a little slow in the beginning but the pace quickly picked up around the 30% mark. Would definitely like to read more by Phillip Fracassi!

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Tyson Parks is an aging horror writer struggling to capture his past success with his books. On the edge and close to financial ruin help comes in the form of a birthday present. His girlfriend Sarah gives him a beautiful antique desk that sparks his writing. Too bad the desk is actually a sacrificial alter, and there is some evil magic creating his success. How long before the evil in the desk wants repayment?

Gothic is dark, creepy, and a fun ride. I was expecting a haunted desk to be as scary, but this book was very successful in showing the menacing and disturbing nature of the desk. Watching the slow and undeniable transformation of Tyson throughout the book as the desk takes hold of him is unnerving to read. There is a real sense of dread while not wanting anything to happen to this family who has been thrown unknowingly into this situation.

I would recommend Gothic to fans of horror with cursed objects. This book is a lot of fun to read despite the very dark disturbing content.

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Thank you Netgalley, author, and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this e-arc.

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