Cover Image: Gothic


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Philip Fracassi’s Gothic felt like a hauntingly brutal love letter to Stephen King. I would say specifically fans of Kings The Shining will enjoy this. As not since the Shining have I read of an author spiraling decent into madness ultimately ending with the fracturing of his family.

As always I would worn potential readers to read the trigger warnings. I had a few scenes that even I was left mouth wide opened and shaking from the visceral pain and gore brought upon a character.
There’s also a scene depicting sexual assault on one of the characters.

This was my first read from Fracassi and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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It has been awhile since a horror book has disturbed me, so I was pleasantly surprised when Gothic by Philip Fracassi was able to do so.

I thought the pace of Gothic was well done. Sometimes an author seems to spend so much time trying to get the reader’s sense of doom amped up, that they don’t get to the actual horror part of the book until the last fourth (or even less) of the book. Fracassi was able to get to the disturbing bit pretty quickly (although I could have done with a bit less of the author in the book going over how old he’s gotten and how much of a disappointment he has become…), in part, because of the flashbacks that were incorporated to help tell the tale of the how the desk came to be.

There were quite a few nods to 80’s horror movies and writers, many of them towards Stephen King, which was fun. And the imagery of the desk coming alive was done really well. The slow descent into madness that was helped along by the spirit of the desk was very well written too. There was graphic violence towards a woman, but I thought it did add to the story, and if you are a horror reader, I don’t feel like it’s something that will shock you…

A very well written horror novel and I look forward to reading more of Philip Fracassi.

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Seeing that this book was coming from Philip Fracassi, I was very intrigued. Reading the synopsis, I was sold. This book is comprised of a very dark, and dare I say gothic, story. Fracassi has a way about his writing that keeps me completely enthralled, leading me to devour every word. He has very quickly become a favorite author for me and this book just bolsters that feeling. A wonderfully haunting tale about a writer and his desk that may or may not be evil.

Thank you to NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a cracking story about a somewhat washed up horror novelist and the possessed desk he receives as a 59th birthday present Gloriously gory at times with some flashes of wry humour and pop culture references. Loads of gruesome, grisly fun.

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Thank you NetGalley and Cemetary Dance for a copy of the eArc of Gothic by Philip Fracassi. The lead up to and the climax of the story were fantastic. The climax was certainly unexpected, and the reason why I'd recommend the book. There are some tropes (devolution of a horror author) and I did not like the prose. I would try another book by Philip Fracassi.

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Overall, I give this book 2.5 stars. I don't know if Philip is going to be an author for me in the future, but I will definitely keep my eye out. This story was just meh for me and then there was a scene that made me feel ill. PLEASE READ THE TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR THIS BOOK.

TW: domestic abuse and sexual assault

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They say write what you know, so I guess that’s why so many writers write about authors struggling to write their next book, but I’m not a fan of this kind of story. I find it self indulgent, and they usually follow the same predictable path. Gothic is no different.

The publisher wisely labels this old school horror. With it’s tone deaf characters, recycled plot and dated scares, it reads like it was written over forty years ago. Apart from an occasional mention of a cell phone (the Luddite main character doesn’t own one), and a laptop (which I think is really a typewriter, judging by the noise of the keys), I’d say it actually was written over forty years ago. Its hackneyed tropes and stereotypical characters are laid out without the slightest hint of irony or wink to the audience, apart from some jabs at so called critics near the end of the book, and a deluge of mentions of Stephen King so that the aping of his style can be called a homage.

If you’re looking for another story of a hugely successful author turning to a cursed object to revive his flagging career, I suggest you turn to Garth Merenghi’s Terrortome instead of Gothic. It lampoons the tired old story that this book replicates, and manages to be more entertaining and original than this book, as well as being funny.

Thank you to the publisher and author for providing me with an ARC. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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Tyson Parks is a famous horror author. He is going to meet a friend for his birthday dinner that is his gift from him. After dinner, Tyson goes home and finds the house is dark making it seem as everyone has gone to bed but when he opens the door, the lights come on and the people yell “Surprise!” His partner, Sarah has arranged the surprise birthday party. She gives Tyson a special gift from her. She takes him to his study and shows him his new desk. Sarah is hoping it will inspire him to write another novel. Tyson starts typing that night after the party and continues into the next day. He’s positive that his agent and publisher will like it. They do. Of course publishers are eager for another book from him. He is the number one author in the news with his new book. Tyson is happy that he is coming back into his writing. Meanwhile Tyson is acting strangely. Sarah doesn’t know what has caused this but then wonders if it has anything to do with his new desk. Does it? A woman overseas has gotten a reply that one of the ancient artifacts is in New York. When she arrives in New York, she wants to know who and where the artifact is. When she finds out, she goes to get the artifact thinking that if she pays more than they did for it, she would get it. If they did not, she would still get it but not the way she wants to. Wii she be able to get it after the new owner says no? Tyson will not stop writing his new book. The publisher gives a party to celebrate with select guests. Tyson makes the round seeing and talking to people. He even gives a speech. Afterwards he autographs the 200 free books for the guests as they line up.

The author has written an occult horror book. There is creepiness, some violence, love obsession and greed in this novel. It is a page-turning story with excellently described characters, devilish glee with details that made my experience reading it - how he wrote the dread I felt throughout the novel. It is exquisite horror not to be missed.

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"She strolls toward the desk, sneakers silent as she crosses the dark wood, the large oriental rugs. The monstrosity looms before her like a demonic church altar, its black wood glistening in the sunlight, the intricate carvings mysterious and disquieting, its size intimidating."


Tyson Parks is a writer. Somewhat successful, he is past his prime and struggling to maintain relevance.

Then Tyson hits rock bottom. When pitching his latest book, he's told it isn't what he promised and that if he doesn't come up with a new story quick he'll have to return his advance. Only the advance Tyson got is far past spent. Tyson is desperate and doesn't know what to do.

And then one night everything changes.

For his birthday, Sarah, his longtime partner gives him a special present. An antique desk. An ornate, beautiful behemoth inscribed with the words: Do This In Remembrance of Me. Centuries old and with a mysterious history, Sarah hopes it will be the inspiration Tyson needs to create and feel relevant again.

Tyson becomes enchanted by the wondrous desk. He starts writing feverishly. This desk is special. This desk has a way to help Tyson that he never anticipated. This desk is going to change everything, and it might not be in anybody’s best interest.


Until this book I'd only ever read short stories from Fracassi. From reading those I knew I wanted to read more. And I wasn't disappointed. Fracassi's recent novel is incredible fun. I'm so glad I had the chance to read it.

There was plenty to appreciate about this novel. Fracassi creates memorable and believable characters. He creates relationships between the characters that make the entire tale so much more real and endearing.

And the horror! What great horror. There are excruciating elements, given with great detail that makes the reader positively squirm. There were times that it felt like an inside the writers point of view of John Carpenters In the Mouth of Madness. There were also times I felt like I was reading something by Stephen King. But every time I felt this it was followed by a wonderful sense of originality. A strong sense of Fracassi pervaded even the moments of similarity to create something unique.


Usually during a read I have what I call a lull. What I mean by this is that somewhere along the way I'll come to a point where my mind becomes distracted by other endeavors (other books, movies, running or something else) and I'll slow down on the current read. The runner in me calls that “hitting the wall.” I chip away at the book and eventually get a second wind and fly through the finish.

That didn't happen with Gothic.

I was engaged 100% of the time. I never felt my attention ebbing. I just kept turning pages, wanting to know what was going to happen to Tyson, the desk and his companions. This is the hallmark of a extraordinary book. I loved it and highly recommend it.

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From the outset Gothic has all the promise of being the good 'old fashioned horror' that it's claiming to be: the cover, the title, synopsis, and even the author's name. It had so much promise and then gave me exactly what I wanted.
This is horror. (That isn't to say that horror doesn't come in a variety of forms but I for one am very tired of thrillers being marketed as horror and flooding the market). It does what it says it will and hit all those sweet spots: a writer, a mysterious object that might be cursed/possessed/something else, and mystery. There was only one weird references to boobs (but a little too much fat shaming). It's easily comparable to the likes of Herbert, Laymon, Saul and John Carpenter (I have an overwhelming urge to re-watch At the Mouth of Madness after reading this).

My biggest gripe is that it moved too quickly. I would have preferred a slower decline into madness, a little more resistance. I would have liked Sarah to have punch him the face, walked away, and pressed charges.

All in all it did what it promised and I will be reading more of his work in the future (I'd also like to read Black Altar, but alas...)

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Had to sleep on this before I could gather my thoughts on this.

I feel like this had a lot of potential. A writer struggling with writer’s block receives a desk filled with malevolent forces? Him possibly being possessed by it and giving slight The Shining vibes? Sign me up. I got approved to read this in the summer of 2022 and i’ve had plenty of opportunities to complete this book. There’s a reason it’s taken me until now to finish it. This book was so slow in the beginning that I kept stopping and picking up other books. It spent too much time building up to the horror. That, plus the fact it flips back and forth between Tyson and Diana’s plot lines, including chapters set in the 1700’s. For the book only being 408 pages, it felt like an eternity to get through.

That being said, the horror really started to pick up halfway through. This book has wild body horror. It was mesmerizing to read it. There is a scene involving the desk and a character’s hand that I can’t stop thinking about. That, plus Tyson and Diana finally meeting really had me invested on what would happen in the end. It was a wild ride when it came to Tyson obsession with the desk and what he was willing to lose in order to write a new book. I will say the last lines of the book gave me a good chuckle and really brings the story around full circle. I did feel like there was an unfinished ending with Tyson’s daughter and another character. It seemed like it was leading up to a confrontation and then there’s no additional chapter with them at all, which was a little confusing.

Overall, this was just okay. I really felt like it jumped between too many POVS and the pacing was just too slow for my taste. It’s shame because it has themes of occultism and body horror, which are some of my favorite horror themes!

Content warning: along with some gruesome body horror, there is a rape scene and also mentions of rape.

Once again, thank you to Netgalley for the digital ARC of Gothic.

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I've read many thing by Fracassi, usually I love anything Fracassi puts out. Unfortunately I could not get into this one. Despite the premise being intriguing, the characters were lacking for me. I tried many times to pick up were I left off and just couldn't get into it. Only because of his previous work I've enjoyed I may try it again later on.

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For horror author Tyson Parks, the glory days grow farther and farther away each year. As he struggles to keep up with his publisher contracts and pen a novel that will bring him even remotely close to his past notoriety, Tyson finds he would give just about anything for a muse.

Then, on Tyson's 59th birthday, his long-time partner Sarah gifts him the desk. Forged with painstaking intentionality and superb craftsmanship, it's evident that this isn't just any writer's desk; it's a grand piece of history likely etched with its own mysterious stories, just waiting to be discovered.

Little does Tyson know, his new muse is harboring a darkness that will beckon him to the precipice--but of what? He shouldn't dare to find out.

"Gothic" is nothing short of a horror masterpiece. In 400 pages, Philip Fracassi weaves a harrowing story of a struggling writer who succumbs a darkness that becomes nearly indistinguishable from himself. With the same kind of visceral terror and unpretentious prose of Stephen King but still a voice uniquely his own, Fracassi marches this story forward with a pulse-pounding, dread-filled pace that kept me so engrossed I quite literally had to force myself to stop reading.

I loved every page, even the ones that terrified me. "Gothic" (while certainly not for the faint of heart) is a refreshing homage to old-school horror but with an invigorated style that's bound to leave its mark.

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Fracas I was relatively unknown to me until I was lucky enough to review a short story collection, and from there a connection was formed. I truly enjoy his fiction and his ability to craft an engrossing tale. Gothic does not fall short, and he has cemented himself as a must read, as far as I’m concerned.

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Tyson Parks is a best selling horror author, but his career is headed down the drain and the pressure is on for his latest deadline. He has nothing to give the publisher, but his funds are running low and he's already blown through the advance they gave him - which they'll need back when he fails to produce what he'd promised.

His long time girlfriend Sarah gifts him an antique desk for his birthday, in hopes that it will help motivate him. But what they don't realize is the desktop is made from an ancient occult artifact, and is evil and possessed.

Tyson starts doing abnormal things, but he's also writing and the writing is good. He's attached to the desk, and doesn't care what it costs him if it means he's successful...

This one was bloody and gory and really everything you would want from a horror novel. The flashbacks to the past provided enough backstory to understand the evil that possessed the artifact, but didn't linger on it which I liked. I'm definitely looking forward to more from Fracassi in the future. Thanks to Philip Fracassi, Cemetery Dance Publications and NetGalley for my advanced copy. Gothic publishes 2/3.

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This was the first time I have read a novel from Fracassi and it was an intense experience!
This is definitely a horror novel, which is very much in my wheelhouse. It is quite graphic (content warning for domestic abuse, sexual assault, suicide), but it didn't feel gratuitous.
I enjoyed the paranormal/Lovecraftian horror aspects and would have enjoyed more of that aspect. I felt like the characters didn't really feel real for me, I didn't connect with any of them beyond a surface level. Also, I understand the historical aspect needed to be shared, but I found the flashback parts the least engaging.
Overall, a strong idea and good writing made this enjoyable - I will look for more of his novels in the future.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy to read and review. All opinions are my own.
Publish date: February 3. 2023

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Gothic is a fast-paced, wild ride hurtling along a writer’s descent into madness. Fracassi ensures readers are treated to all that journey has to offer - every cursed gain, and steep cost, Tyson Parks experiences.

While reminiscent of King’s Jack Torrance in The Shining and Paul Sheldon in Misery, Tyson Parks and company are fully realized unique characters through Philip Fracassi’s skilled writing. The story is a welcome contribution to horror with fresh takes on the themes and circumstances fans love to revisit.

For famous but struggling writer, Tyson Parks, the gift of an antique desk sparks new creativity - and unleashes old evils. Does he have one more best-selling novel in him, or has the 59 year old’s well run dry? As it turns out, there’s just enough ‘juice’ left in Tyson to squeeze out a book unlike any the world has ever seen.

The story will remind readers of a visceral mash-up of The Little Shop of Horrors and The Shining. In fact, I seem to recall a TV episode, or short story, in which a plant uses a typewriter to bash out stories. Try as we might, Google and I could not find the source material for that particular memory…

Still, Philip Fracassi’s tale departs from that somewhat comic take on the ‘puppetmaster’ trope and flies like a rocket from the opening line to the high tension conclusion. You will be left wondering if the book in your hands is just a myth - or a true cosmic horror unleashed.

Coming February 3, 2023 from Cemetery Dance Publications, Gothic by Philip Fracassi features countless nods to uncanny speculative fiction authors. References throughout make the entire piece feel like a collective love letter to works which inspired and guided the author’s career.

There is a nod to Richard Matheson’s “Bid Time Return” as main character Tyson Parks listens to The Complete Rachmaninoff while writing. Annie Wilkes and others make referenced guest appearances. Multiple references to authors, famous works, and some of the best lines from horror literature pop up and delight the reader.

Author of the award-winning story collection, Beneath a Pale Sky, Philip Fracassi has multiple novels and a plethora of short stories for fans to enjoy. The New York Times has called his work “terrifically scary.” He’s even had feature films distributed by Disney Entertainment and Lifetime Television. Believe it or not, Fracassi is also the author of a children’s book, The Boy with the Blue Rose Heart.

Get the latest updates about his work at his website and find him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@philipfracassi).

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What a story. This was such a fun but messed up read. I found the writing style easy to read and follow the story line.
This was the 1st book by Philip Fracassi but definitely won't be my last

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Tyson Parks is a famous horror novelist who is in desperate need of a hot selling book. His partner Sarah presents him with a very expensive and gothic looking desk for him to write his next bestseller on. At the same time, a mysterious woman is desperately seeking this desk in order to destroy it and end the evil curse attached to it. Immediately upon working at the desk, a gory, violent story begins and Tyson literally cannot type fast enough. I really enjoyed this story and honestly could not believe how violent, gory and just downright evil it becomes. A true horror story. I thank Netgalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Any horror books I hve read before (many) I’m like “yeah, ok that was pretty creepy.” But wowwww THIS book was a true horror story. This was messed up in the best way. I morbidly love when the main characters you grow fond of aren’t even safe. It’s such an uncommon plot twist. I love scary movies too and I kept imagining this as a film while I was reading and think how it would be crazy intense. The last paragraph sealed the deal on my thoughts. That clever ending made me want to stand up and applaud my empty room.

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