Cover Image: Gothic


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Unfortunately, GOTHIC was just not for me. Even as a horror fan (although fairly new the genre) this one took far too long to get going for me and I probably skimmed a good portion of it. I know that it has amazing reviews elsewhere, so please don't take my word for it. I think this was a "me problem"!

Was this review helpful?

I wish Goodreads had a different system than the five star system. There's nothing to differentiate a "This was a great book" 5 star review and a "I'm going to be recommending this book to everyone" 5 star review. This is the latter.

This book blew me away. I read it over two days, and couldn't put it down. It's the best horror book I've read this year and is one of my favourites I've ever read.

You can read the plot summary yourself, so I won't get into that too much. Saying it's a book about an evil desk is correct, but it doesn't do the story justice. Anyway, I really felt for the main character. He has a nice family and lots of friends, but he stresses over getting another book out and about his fading glory days. The first 100 pages or so you get to know him and his wife and daughter and they all seem mostly happy. You could have taken out a few chapters laying the groundwork for the latter part of the book, slapped on an It's a Wonderful Life style ending and had a nice little feel good novella. But this is a horror novel, and that's not the way things end. The desk starts to take over his mind and the whole book turns on a really dark chapter involving his wife. After that, it's all downhill in tone.

I can't recommend this book enough for horror lovers. It had creepy imagery, excellent characters, and a story that moved along at the perfect pace. There's room leftover for a sequel, and I'll be buying that one for sure if it's ever written. I got this book as a free ARC but I loved it so much I'll buy buying a copy when it comes out too. Easy 5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

This one was dark y’all, with several uncomfortable scenes.
A once celebrated writer, Tyson Parks, who’s hit a cold streak receives a gift of a new writing desk for his 59th birthday. The stone desktop is actually a centuries old cursed altar . Soon Tyson starts acting different, and and his career begins to rebound…but at what cost to him and those he loves?
The pacing was good, the story kept me up way too late, and the writing was excellent. I really enjoyed this one and definitely recommend.
4.5 ⭐️

Was this review helpful?

Philip Fracassi’s Gothic is a desperate tale of madness and suffering for aging horror author, Tyson Parks. He has lost his place at the top and is desperate to write anything. This leads him to succumb to the lure of possession and not-so-empty promises. It is the story of a writer who is both cursed and possessed, but it goes beyond whatever makes the arcane desk tick. There is more, some of which is only hinted at. One can’t help but think about Stephen King’s own tormented writer, Jack Torrance. And like that doomed writer, Tyson’s loved ones are also caught up in the madness. Fracassi puts his own twist on an evil object story.

If you like weird horror with hints of an unseen cosmic ‘other’ that is too twisted to comprehend, this is a good read for you. I wanted more. I’m hoping that this tale from Fracassi gets to make the leap to film. I’d love to see and feel the tension.

The release date for this one is February 3, 2023. I recommend that you pre-order this one from Cemetery Dance. I have a feeling that this one could quickly go into a second printing.

Was this review helpful?

He sits up, flips over the cover to reveal the name of the book:

By Tyson Parks

He stares at the page for a moment, ignores the chill that runs up his spine, the sick feeling of darkness that floods his mind. He licks his lips, lets out a held breath.

Shitty title, he thinks.

Then he turns the page over, and begins to read.

this was INCREDIBLE. this book invoked the same sense of horrified "what the fuck!" that i last remember feeling while reading Needful Things at way too young of an age. everyone loves to compare modern horror writers to stephen king, but this is the first author i've read who was actually reminiscent of him.

i will be keeping an eye on philip fracassi from now on. . .

<b> thank you to cemetery dance publications for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!</b>

Was this review helpful?

2.5 stars so I rounded up to 3–I really hate giving it such a low review because the first few chapters were really fantastic. They were intriguing, well written, and set up the premise of what you thought would be a fantastic horror novel but then it just went somewhat down hill from there. The back story of the desk was ill fitting with the current narrative, which was would have moments of great prose then feel discombobulated for lack of a better term. The characters themselves felt all over the place and manic, which might have been intentional but did not come across that way. It almost felt like several stories combined into one, but not conductively. I would love to read a book solely on the history of the desk and maybe even a novella on her hunt for it over the years it. The idea is there. The talent is there. It just fell a little flat to me.

Was this review helpful?

Content warning: SA and domestic abuse occur in this story

This was one hell of a horror! Malevolent objects aren't new as a horror theme, but Philip explored this concept in a unique and interesting way. I noticed that the story started to drag when we went back to the 1700s for more detail on this desk's history. I'm not big into period pieces, so that may have played a part in how I viewed that section. I felt like it could have been more concise, but others may not agree. I could have also done without the SA/domestic abuse section, but the author kept it fairly brief. I think this would do well with a content warning as it's not necessarily an expected theme in horror. The evolution of the malevolent desk was interesting, and I found the characters to be well fleshed out. I think I expected a little more from Violet toward the finale, but it ended a bit abruptly. I'm not sure if that was a setup for a sequel as I felt like the rest of this book closed appropriately. As a whole, I'm glad I picked this book, and would certainly recommend it to other horror enthusiasts.

Was this review helpful?

""There are no discovered treasures for those who do not seek them out", those eyes say.
"OK, fine. So coffee, then shit, then...what?"
"Then?" The reflection answers, and Tyson watches helplessly as it smiles. "Then you go write the book, you filthy cunt. Or I'll cut out your heart.""

Tyson is a struggling writer, out of his prime and racking himself over his current novel. Thinking a change might do him good, his partner Sarah buys him a new desk. Soon Tyson's working so hard and for so many hours on his new novel that his fingers begin to bleed. He's also finding it harder to control his moods and becomes increasingly abusive to those around him. One day a woman, Diana Montresor, comes to Tyson's house and offers to pay more than what Sarah paid to have the desk. It belonged to her family many years ago and she wants it back. Only, the desk doesn't want to leave.

I thought the first part of this novel was creepy and it really kept me engaged. I wanted to know what was going to happen. As someone who 'pretends' to write in their spare time I found Tyson and his struggle very relatable. This book also read surprisingly quickly for being over 400 pages which was great.

I did think that the story got a little slow toward the end and it didn't seem to have the same tone as the begining of the book. The last chapter made it seem like something was going to happen but then in the epilogue the set up from the last chapter was never resolved. Possibly there's a second book that would continue with the last chapters' thread? I'm not sure.

Overall I liked it and would recommend it if you like stories about struggling writers, cursed artifacts with shady back stories, or if you liked The Shinning.

Thanks to netgalley, the publisher and author for a chance to read this book in exchange for a review.

Was this review helpful?

Though I've heard of Fracassi several times in the last year or so, GOTHIC was my first time reading his work. His style is very familiar and comfortable. Even the idea of GOTHIC is a cozy trope in horror: something cursed makes an author lose his mind, become violent and erratic. Though this was admittedly a drawback for me much of the ride, I found the final twenty percent of this story entirely engrossing. It was around the point of Diane planning her proposal for Tyson that I found myself submerged in the story and glued to the pages that followed. The suspense amps up beyond this point tenfold; even when there's little action, it's palpable. I would have liked a different ending for Ben and Violet, though - their final scene together seemed incomplete. I expected something to come of it, but nothing did. And the Epilogue was a bit abrupt. Otherwise, I found GOTHIC thoroughly satisfying and well-fitted with classic horror nuances and nods.

Was this review helpful?

A must read for all fans of horror. Gothic feels both classic and contemporary in equal measure.
A strange decent into a wonderfully dark world, full is twists I never saw coming.
Great pacing throughout, you are dragged along for the ride throughout the whole story.
Definitely reccomended.

Was this review helpful?

Tyson Parks is a famous horror writer who is struggling to write another bestseller. On his 59th birthday, his partner, Sarah, gifts him an antique desk with the hopes of sparking his muse. Tyson gets bad vibes from the desk but ignores it. The beauty and mystery of it draw him in and he begins to write the best novel of his career. However, Tyson begins displaying unusual behaviors. Having dark fantasies. Losing track of time. Becoming violent. Writing horrors he has never written before. Publishers are predicting that his novel will be the biggest bestseller of all time and Tyson will do anything to protect his new success. Even if it means paying a price. And the price tag will be high indeed.

They say "don't judge a book by its cover" but I am so glad that I did because I absolutely loved Gothic! It's my first novel by Philip Fracassi and it won't be my last. It's one of those books that I couldn't put down because I just had to know what happens next. The ending had me sitting in silence recovering from what I had just read.

Gothic gave me old school 1970's Stephen King vibes with a writer being driven to insanity, however Fracassi gave it a new spin. Add the backstory of the haunted desk, horrifying imagery, a slow burn, and a twist that I did not see coming and it's the perfect spooky read. Looking forward to reading more from Philip Fracassi.

Was this review helpful?

Philip Fracassi is an auto buy author for me, so when I saw the opportunity to get an advance copy of this one on NetGalley, I jumped all over it.

Author Tyson Parks finds inspiration and renewed success after receiving a very unique 59th birthday present. A real one-of-a-kind antique writing desk. Suddenly he is churning out the best work of his career. All due to his new muse. But there is a price to be paid for fame, and when the bill comes due, it will be a heavy price indeed.

Fracassi sets the table so well that by the time it all starts hitting the fan you are heavily invested and consumed in the narrative. Makes his work very hard to put down.

4.5 Stars and Highly Recommended

Was this review helpful?


As emotionally charged as it is terrifying, this is one special horror story. I felt for these characters and their plights and that’s very a la King. Totally cool!

Was this review helpful?

This book is not reinventing the wheel, but it is extremely enjoyable. Definitely has an 80's horror vibe, as one can see from the cover. I really liked it, although I was able to tell where it was going. Still, a fun and easy read for horror fans.

Was this review helpful?

Gothic by  Philip Fracassi

I couldn’t put this book down!  A true horror story, this gripping thriller will have you on the edge of your seat.  A struggling past his prime author and a cursed desk. What a story this is! The suspense, drama…I felt this book was perfect.  Just what I needed to renew my faith in a good old horror novel. Five stars!


Was this review helpful?

Gothic is about a writer, Tyson, who's career is on the rocks. When his girlfriend gets him a new desk to get him inspired for his 59th birthday, strange things start happening. When he starts to use his new desk, he starts pumping out best sellers left and right, but at what cost?

The gore and body horror is really good, and I enjoyed to descriptions in this book. It was a very visual experience. I haven't read anything quite like this before, and I love the premise, it's unique. The vibes were also creepy and sometimes really unsettling. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the format. There were chapters that felt out of place so the flow of the story was a little off to me in certain places, however, I still really enjoyed this book.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Cemetery Dance Publications for giving me the opportunity to read a E-ARC for a review.

Was this review helpful?

This was an excellent book by Philip and the first book I've read by her. I thought it was creepy, spooky, and fantastic and made me want to pick up all of his other books. Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this early!

Was this review helpful?

What is there to say about this novel other than that I feel it will be HUGE.

To me, it has this immense sense of retro, 80's horror in the vein of James Herbert, from the cover to the gothic haunted desk which turns out to have this sprawling, blood soaked history, it is an absolute revelation for readers like me who are, ahem, old enough to remember devouring novels with covers like this behind my nan's parlour settee. It was such an incongruous setting, everything in there was for best, and yet there was this bookcase in the corner crammed with 70's and 80's horror classics.

In this book, Tyson is an author battling expectations of his public, his editors, and himself as a writer.

He is broke, his much younger wife is one of his biggest and earliest fans, his brand of horror has fallen out of fashion and so the advance for his latest book has been long spent.Pride dictates that he does not borrow from his very well connected other half, or any of his friends, he wants to capture his glory days without compromise to what he wants to write.

However, he cannot write.

Given the ultimatum of having a month to write a whole novel, after failing to sell the historical one which he has written, he is at his actual wits end. He cannot tap the vein of darkness which would let him pour forth the words which once made him top the bestseller charts.

Unbeknownst to him, his wife is planning to surprise him on his 59th birthday, where he is tipping from being a recognisable man to a properly middle aged has been, he is about to have his wishes come true...

She has tracked down the perfect writing desk, hoping that he will be able to write once more.

But what he produces has a very particular audience in mind and what moves him to work has a sinister intent...

There is so much to revel in, the lush descriptions of the desk, the blood soaked scenes of horror, the inner workings of a writer's mind, all of it are so rich and vivid.

You could feel Tyson's frustration rising off the page, his wife's need to be the muse which brings him back, all of which lead to the buying of what turns out to be something much more horrific than anything he could conjure.

It's a cautionary tale, raising the spectre of just what you would sacrifice for your goals and the motif of a writer's desk as a sacrificial altar is brilliant. His wife is so desperate to make him into the object of her desire that she leaves herself open to the dark influence of this desk, Tyson is so caught up with his professional and personal failings he will sacrifice his peace of mind to be able to write.

And the thing is, the dark force moving through the desk makes this writer both vulnerable and a perfect target because he already has this in him.

Greed, ambition, perception of all matters in this situation and I genuinely felt completely creeped out, compelled to keep reading and enthralled by the back story of the writer's desk from hell.

Using an unlikable character as the principal narrator takes balls, it takes talent as you could so easily be put off by Tyson. But the essentially hopeful nature of the human heart anticipates him being strong enough to fight this malevolence in the same way you root for Jack Torrance in The Shining.

Embracing all that is good and great about the gothic genre, this is a reinvigoration of the classic art form with a very modern twist.


Was this review helpful?

Downright chilling. I loved every word. Fracassi is coming into his own and I'm ready to follow him on any journey he takes.

Was this review helpful?

There were a few things that fell a little bit flat for me, but overall, I really enjoyed this read.
I did feel like it tried to re-do some things we've seen before (Jack Torrence's descent in the Shining, for example) - it won't really stick with me, it's not going to be a classic I loan to all my friends, but it is a fun creepy escape.

Was this review helpful?