Cover Image: Gothic


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The centerpiece of Philip Fracassi's Gothic centers around a demonic writer's desk that was carved from an altar of the occult. It possesses a fading horror author as he crafts his latest work and as you would imagine, bad stuff happens.

This is a '70s throwback novel, but with a contemporary twist. Think Paperbacks from Hell for the 21st century. It's easy to make comparisons to classic Stephen King. A haunted desk? That's Christine without wheels! A struggling writer's descent into madness? Redrum!

I had a blast reading this book. Despite the familiar themes, Gothic stands on its own merits. Sure, it does tend to drag a bit, just like classic (and modern) King, but it's well worth the ride. This was my first Philip Fracassi novel and I'm ready for more.

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A masterful horror novel. This made me uncomfortable a number of times, something I haven't experienced for a while. The timing and way the evil would surface was really disquieting. This is not for the faint of heart, so if you don't like horror, don't read it. If you do like a good horror novel, don't pass this one by.

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Struggling with writer's block, horror author Tyson Parks needs a new muse in his life. For his 59th birthday, his well meaning partner buys him a new desk she's found in an antique store. Little does anyone know that this desk is in reality a shapeshifting portal to cosmic forces beyond the comprehension of man, hunted by the last member of a powerful family bent on putting an end to its powers. Philip Fracassi blends Lovecraftian horror with the very human tale of a writer descending into obsession and madness a la Stephen King in Gothic.

- The premise is fairly wild and the action reflects this: it doesn't pull many punches, is pretty gory in places, and doesn't make sense in a comical way at times.
- It's feels like a love letter to the genre, namedropping various King references and having some strong Lovecraft vibes throughout.

- Beyond the main character, the others are all fairly superfluous and could almost be cut from the book without much impact. In particular, the character trying to chase down the artifact has almost no relevance to the plot for how much time is spent with her character in perspective chapters, and her story ends in a comically abrupt way.

Three stars. It's fun in a gratuitous way, but there's not much bubbling beyond the surface here.

FFO: Lovecraft, the Shining.

**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Cemetery Dance and Netgalley*

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Gothic is a satisfyingly dark read, weaving together well-worn tropes, character archetypes, and gory goings-on into an original story that hits plenty of horror high notes. It might have benefited from a hundred pages in either direction - depending on whether you'd want certain parts fleshed out, or the fat trimmed off entirely - but once it gets going, it's a wonderfully twisted novel, marking Fracassi as an exciting voice in the genre.

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If you like those Stephen King types of books then this one is something to pick up. Very much a slow story building book but quick to read and consume with the short chapters to keep you turning the page. There is some scenes that might not be for some people with tiggers. A good entey novel into more extreme horror.

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Reading this book gave me chills! It was so creepy and atmospheric. Some parts left me terrified! It is a but graphic at times so be aware if you plan on reading this but I loved it!

Tyson Parks receives antique desk for his 59th birthday. The perfect gift for a famous, struggling horror writer, his partner Sarah got it for a good price. She’s hoping it’ll give him inspiration to write. Tyson begins using the desk and after awhile begins acting unlike himself. He’s become angry and violent. His is writing faster and more than ever before. But his writing is disturbing. His publishers are ecstatic with the turnaround are believe it will be very successful. Tyson will do whatever it takes to protect his success even at the expense of his family and his own sanity.

Gothic is available February 3, 2023.

Thank you netgalley and cemetery dance publications for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

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A great horror story that will give me shivers for a long time to come!!.
It centres around Tyson, who is a horror writer a bit down on his luck. He hasn't been writing great novels for a few years and is struggling to write that great book that could get him back on his uppers. Meanwhile, his wonderful partner of ten years, Sarah, has bought him an antique desk for his fifty ninth birthday, and this desk will go in his office to hopefully inspire his book writing. This is a great find as far as her dealer friend is concerned. It's unusual and she knows that Tyson will love it.
I'm afraid as in all horror books ,things start to change for the worst. The desk takes over Tyson's life. Then a woman comes to his door trying to buy the desk, saying it belongs to her family.
You may not sleep well after reading this!!.
I received this free ARC book for an honest review.
#Netgalley, #oldschoolhorror, #pfracassi, #cemeterydancepub.

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I just finished Gothic by Phillip Fracassi and this is what I thought.

Tyson parks is a washed up horror writer hoping for a come back. The book he just submitted was not what he promised and now is under a time crunch to write something new.

His partner Sarah, gets him a gothic desk to help with his writer's block, a birthday gift.

A woman, mystical and mysterious, has been searching for that very desk for years and has hired a PI to track it down. Finally she has found it ..

Tyson begins to write at the desk but has no memory of writing at it… he begins to act out of character and becomes increasingly violent but his new book is well received by his agent and the publisher but is it worth his sanity for the glory of his comeback?

Yikes! This book was so graphic and I devoured the whole thing in a few hours. If you are looking for old school horror with mysticism wrapped right in then this one has to be next on your list.

Tysons transformation from washed up has been, to international best seller was gripping to watch unfold and the descriptions of what happens to him when he sits and writes was so horrifying I had my fist over my mouth for part of the book.

I'm a huge horror fan and this one checked all the boxes. Great character development, fast and steady pace and the plot was excellent.
What didn't I like… The ending. I felt like I needed to know answers to some questions I had because I'm not a fan of loose endings with things left unexplained. I know I'm in the minority here because I need definites of knowing but I know a lot of horror fans like to be left this way.

I do highly recommend this book. It's out now so grab yours today!!! 4.5 stars

Thank you to @netgalley and @cemetarydancepublications for my review copy

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Tyson Parks is having trouble riding his newest novel the cursor keeps blinking haunting him what his partner Sarah something up her sleeve it’s his birthday and although it’s more than she would usually spin she buys him an antique desk and he goes from writers block to overflowing with things he wants the typout. Unfortunately it changes more than just it’s riding flow but who he is as a person he starts to see things, hear things and act unlike himself. And all his agencies is Dollar Signs though he pulls the original deal he wants to start a bidding frenzy but madness isn’t uniform and it can never end well. This is the second book I’ve read by this Author and cannot wait to read more. She has an imagination unmatched and her dissent into madness seems so authentic. Some parts of this book made me squirm in my seat into spite reading at the time wanted to cover my eyes. I feel fortunate that I have found such a talented author as hora is one of my favorite genres and to say she does a great job would be an understatement. I received this book from NetGalley and cemetery dance press but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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A very slow burn that left unanswered questions. I had to read more than half the book for the pace to pick up. Then there was a spike for a chapter or two and then it plateaued again. The book could have done with a serious edit of unnecessary details and fleshing out of parts that mattered. It was a little disturbing but by no means scary. Thanks #NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for the ARC.

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Gothic by Philip Fracassi is entertaining, frightening, gross, funny and creepy. It all started with the gift of a writing desk, which we can all agree now is cursed. The story starts slow at first but halfway in, fasten your seatbelt because you are in for quite the ride. Is anyone else calling it meta? Thanks to NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for the ARC.

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A slow burn, but once it catches it blazes!

Tyson Parks is a horror author living in New York with his partner (not wife, don’t make that assumption) and his daughter. He is having some trouble with the latest novel he promised his publisher, his advance has already been spent and he just can’t seem to deliver. That is until a mysterious ornate desk comes into his possession. Or it may be better to say he becomes possessed by his mysterious new desk… Tyson has finally found his muse again but the cost for inspiration is high.

This was my first book by Philip Fracassi and it is not going to be the last, as I said this was a slow burn at first it seemed like a lot of nothing, just day to day in the life of a horror author (they do say to write what you know!) but all of a sudden I was spiraling into madness right along with Tyson. There were some parts where I was literally squirming as they were being described, and when we got the title of Tyson’s last novel… I was shook there is just no other way to put it. A little meta but in a good way and a lot of spooky fun!

Thank you to NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to preview Gothic by Philip Fracassi. I will say that I struggled with this one. I love a good slow burn horror/thriller story; however, I was turned off by the graphic descriptions of sexual violence. The story could have been just as impactful without the rape. Honestly, I would not have requested the book if I would have known how much the main character hated women.

The plot itself was super engaging and something I'd never encountered before. I would give this author another chance because the story was new and promising. I'd just request some warnings about graphic sexual violence.

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“Do this in remembrance of me.” A carving and a curse. A statement etched deep into the antique desk Tyson Park is gifted on his 59th birthday. Given to him with the hope it will be a source of inspiration. To help him write another hit horror story. To bring him back to his glory days.

Instead it’s a font of pure evil. A hungry thing looking for it’s newest victims, and inspiration pours out of Tyson into the vilest novel he’s ever penned. But the desk doesn’t just give it also takes, and is Tyson willing to pay the ultimate price for infamy.

Told through multiple narrators we see an author on the brink of madness. The toll of his obsessive writing on his family and friends, both mentally and physically in gory brutality. No one is safe within Gothic’s pages.

Fracassi writes these intensely bingeable stories. Books you want to stay up all night reading, and Gothic is no exception.

Thank you so much to @cemeterydancepub and @pfracassi for providing me with a galley of this title. Gothic comes out February 3rd.

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So far I have not been disappointed by any Fracassi books, and this may be my favorite yet 🙌. Gothic is a dark, twisty tale of a man gone mad, drowning in the depths of his own mind.

Tyson, a struggling horror writer, receives a present from his wife for his birthday; a large desk with intricate carvings and symbols which turns out to be an ancient occult artifact. While using the desk, Tyson is suddenly able to write again, blasting thru page after page, but what he writes is more disturbing than anything he has written before. His personality also changes, becoming more angry and violent, and more selfish, hurting those closest to him. When a strange lady comes by claiming the desk is a long lost family artifact, things spiral out of control causing death and ultimately, self destruction.

“𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙥𝙖𝙡𝙥𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚, 𝙖 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙨𝙣𝙪𝙘𝙠 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙝𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙖𝙩𝙚, 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙚𝙨, 𝙗𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙥𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙥𝙖𝙞𝙣, 𝙗𝙧𝙤𝙠𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙜𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙛.”

I soaked up this book, completely absorbed in what was on the pages. The characters were relatable and written well. I loved the whole idea behind the desk and what it represented. This story had a modern feel to it, but definitely possessed features of a vintage, older style as well. Fracassi has definitely proven himself in my eyes as a master storyteller and I can’t wait for what’s to come next 🤩.

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Gothic by Philip Fracassi was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it. I have read this author in the past and he never ceases to amaze the reader. This book was one of the few horror novels I have read recently where I did not skim any due to woke nonsense or boring dialogue that never seemed to end. This is old-school writing that kept me interested and moving right along. As always, I will not go into plot details, plenty of others will rehash the liner synopsis so I don't have to. If you, or someone you buy gifts for, likes a horror book in the vein of old SK books, give this book a read,

4 Stars

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Philip Fracassi’s new horror novel Gothic opens with its protagonist Tyson Parks trapped in an untenable situation. Twenty years ago he was a New York Times bestselling horror author, hailed as Stephen King’s heir apparent. But times have changed and his more recent books have been commercial and critical failures. His smug Manhattan agent—lounging in the posh corner office Tyson’s labor and talent financed—berates him like a child for falling out of step with the fickle tastes of the fiction market. Tyson’s latest manuscript is both late and diverges significantly from the book he pitched to his anxious publisher. The creative well is running dry and his business partners are growing impatient while his debts mercilessly compound.

Tyson’s fortunes change, however, when his supportive partner Sarah buys him an ornate Victorian Gothic writing desk as a present for his 59th birthday. A smoothly polished stone slab supported by decadently engraved rosewood, the monumental antique is intended to reignite Tyson’s creative spark. And it works, beyond Sarah’s wildest hopes. From the moment Tyson sets fingertips to keyboard, he is drawn into a fugue state in which the words flow easily and the hours slip by, leaving him pages of disturbingly compelling tales of witchcraft and human sacrifice. Publishable pages. But while his writing career makes a dramatic recovery, his personal life takes a drastic turn for the worse. After receiving the desk, loyal family man Tyson finds himself growing distant and dismissive towards his friends and loved ones, even gradually becoming paranoid and outright violent. A new, malignant Muse is his constant companion. If that wasn’t enough, in addition to the desk’s dark influence, Tyson finds himself targeted by Diana, the mysterious and ruthless last scion of the aristocrat who originally owned the artifact. For the desk is, in reality, a repurposed altar dedicated to blasphemous occult rituals.

The clever conceit at the heart of Gothic is that it is an unabashedly old school horror novel about an old school horror novelist. It’s a book that the reader can easily envision Tyson Parks writing himself at the height of his popularity. Tyson may be struggling because he’s behind the times, but Gothic celebrates the era when writers like him were most successful, when names like Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, and Peter Straub adorned every drugstore paperback spinner rack. Fracassi wisely avoids directly aping King’s voice and tics, but King in particular is referenced multiple times in the book. The writer’s descent into madness immediately brings to mind The Shining, and the seductive, haunted artifact that gives with one hand while exacting a terrible price with the other reminds the reader of a certain cursed possessed car. In fact, this parallel is amusingly lampshaded by Tyson’s best friend, Billy: “Can you believe it Tyson? It’s like Christine…but wood!”

While Gothic is clever and occasionally referential, it doesn’t go overboard on postmodernism or irony. It takes a somewhat silly premise—haunted furniture—and combines it with familiar (some might even say played-out) gothic horror elements like warlocks, moonlit ritual sacrifice, and devil worship, and then proceeds to deliver a serious, straight-faced horror story. Fracassi uses these well worn tropes not to mock them from the smirking perspective of an “evolved” 21 st century horror writer, but because they are still COOL.

Gothic, as they say, goes hard. The book limits itself to an intimate cast of characters and imbues them with a great degree of interiority, making their insecurities, fears, and struggles relatable to the reader. Fracassi then tightens the screws, subjecting each of them to an inexorably escalating sequence of horrors. Moments of outright violence are infrequent, but are graphically and squirm-inducingly described. While it is handled with what I felt to be appropriate gravity, there is one scene of sexual assault that may be too intense for some readers. Gothic is a novel that draws the reader in and makes them care about the characters before absolutely devastating them. As demonstrated in the shocking climax, no one who comes into contact with the demonic desk survives completely unscathed. Gothic concludes with an extended denouement that hints at even grimmer implications for the world at large.

While plot and characterization are generally quite strong, the character of Diana was the weakest aspect of the book. Her ancestry and its entanglement with the desk’s origins are important to the narrative, but despite the cold-hearted tenacity she displays throughout most of the book, she appears uncharacteristically careless at a crucial moment. Gothic has an uncommonly strong cast of characters, however, and this one false note does little to tarnish the book as a whole.

The horror genre is currently blessed with an abundance of talented authors all pushing in different directions, innovating and deconstructing and elevating, but it’s gratifying to see one newer writer recognize that the classic tropes became classic for a reason. Sometimes an old-fashioned spooky story about possession and devil worship just hits the spot. Gothic is an immensely satisfying love- letter to the golden age of paperback horror.

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Very creepy and engrossing. I was very invested in Tyson right from the start and thought the story was very well done!

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"Do this in remembrance of me."

Tyson Parks was once a best selling author but nowadays not so much. It appears his ideas and creativity have all but dried up. He has a deadline looming, one his agent won't let him forget about, and the stress of it all is weighing on him.

His lovely girlfriend, Sarah, has found the perfect gift for him for his 59th birthday: A new writing desk! An antique to be sure, high shine finish, engraved wood, intricate detailing make this a one of a kind showpiece and one that she hopes rekindles his writing spirit.

Tyson has never seen anything so beautiful. As soon as he sits at the desk it's as if it's talking to him, becoming him, giving him the very ideas he needs for his next best-selling book. While the desk seems to be giving him everything he could ever ask for it's also taking from him the very essence of his being. Turning a once mild-mannered man into a monster of his own making.

Obviously if your reading a book about a possessed desk some suspension of disbelief has to be involved. While this bothers me in almost every other genre I am much more forgiving in horror. Hey, I know what I signed up for after all. That being said I wish I had liked Tyson more right from the get go because I would have been a lot more invested in this story had I of been. Tyson went from a whiney slouch to a violent prick and neither version resonated with me as a reader. Did this story really need a rape scene? No, it did not. There are many ways you can show a characters descent into madness without resorting to that.

Where's the scares? Beats me. I didn't get so much as a chill or a goosebump reading this.

One of my most common complaints is going to rear its ugly head yet again: this book is too long. While Tyson may have been struggling for words Fracassi suffers from no such ailment. I personally think this book would have been much more successful at a 300 page count rather than 400+. That's a big investment so the pay-off had better be stellar.

And the pay-off? It's pretty darn good considering.

So there are highlights, lowlights, and a little in-between. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from this author, he definitely knows his way around keyboard, and I hope his future offerings give me the chills I'm looking for. 3 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publication for my complimentary copy.

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Creepy, gripping and Steven King-esque this one is a wild ride from start to finish! Great for people just getting into the more extreme horror genre.

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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