Film's most popular action hero needs a place to heal after surgery that has gone terribly wrong. His fiercely loyal agent finds him just such a place in a luxurious, forgotten mansion high in the Hollywood Hills. But the original owner of the mansion was a beautiful woman devoted to pleasure at any cost, and the terrible legacy of her deed has not yet died. There are ghosts and monsters haunting Coldheart Canyon, where nothing is forbidden.(Goodreads)
I finished this novel a week ago, but haven't gotten the time to write my review until now. Of course I'm already immersed in the next novel, so I'm hoping I'm doing my opinion on this novel justice.
Before I began reading this, I've only read one novel by Clive Barker, which was Damnation Game. I didn't like it that much, but you have to take into account that it was one of his first full length novels. This one was standing on my bookshelf for quite some time, but eventually about a month ago, I decided to give it a go. Luckily for me, Clive Barker grew a lot and I liked this novel very much.
The story revolves around an actor on his way down from stardom and not liking his diminished reputation he decides to alter his image, which goes wrong. Afraid that his peers and fans find out what happened he goes on hiding in a mansion deep in the Hollywood canyons. What he hadn't counted on was what lurked in that mansion, and it would transcend everything he ever thought possible.
I liked the way this novel was building up towards the climax, and left me breathless after some unsuspecting plot twists. Clive Barker kept me on the edge of my seat which is very important in a novel reaching over 800 pages. He's got an uncanny ability to grip your attention and doesn't let go until you're so tired your eyes fall shut by themselves.
I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and while I'm not making comparisons between these two authors, it would be like comparing apples and pears. Both fruit, but oh so different. Clive Barker did set a stage to play out his story very well. You get a sense of this side of Hollywood and showbizz, we common people don't think about. We see only the glitter and glamour, but this is a down to earth real novel, except of course for its trips into the supernatural.
The characters were very well developed. Each and every one. From Todd, the fallen star, to Tammy, his greatest fan, to Katya, the devilish woman inhabitating the canyon. Every one got their own story, their own strength and weaknesses which get portrayed in a lifelike manner.
Before reading this novel, I dared to read a few spoiler free reviews and the one I still remember is the remark that it was a good novel but too lengthy. My opinion on this is, that it's necessary for it to be so long. You've got to have a decent back story for it to be even remotely believable. Clive Barker did this very well and I'm very much inclined to read more of his recent works.
Personal score: 4 stars