Saturday, April 26, 2014

Messages From the Dead

   Been a big reading weekend for me. I read the second half of a novel I started Friday this morning and then plunged into Sandy DeLuca's extremely dark and creepy novella MESSAGES FROM THE DEAD on the recommendation of my pal, Tony Tremblay.
   I wasn't familiar with Sandy's work before, but I knew within a few pages that I was going to like this book. Darkly poetic and filled with haunting images, Messages is a modern ghost story with a Gothic feel. I read that Sandy is a painter as well as a writer and it shows. Her work is very visual, almost cinematic, and the whole time I was reading I kept seeing the scenes in my head and thinking what a great horror movie this could make. Eerie, disturbing, and haunting.
   The book concerns a woman who enrolls in art classes at a small college. The facility has a weird history and between that and the rather macabre tastes of her teacher, the woman begins to seek her own personal darkness to bring to her paintings. She succeeds rather too well and soon things turn not only creepy, but possibly life threatening.
   Sandy DeLuca's prose is dream-like, at times almost hallucinatory and the reader, like the protagonist, often isn't sure what really happened and what was a dream or nightmare. This technique can make me dislike a book, but Sandy walks just the right edge of the fine line between mystifying and confusing. I was occasionally disoriented, but never confused. That's a hard thing to get on the page.
   Anyway, I've already picked out another book by Sandy DeLuca, MANHATTAN GRIMOIRE. You know i love those blasphemous tomes of Eldritch lore.

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