The Barbarian Book Club’s Book of The Month (October): Coldheart Canyon – Clive Barker

Greetings Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights!

Who else is excited for Halloween? I sure am! I love Halloween and the horror genre in general, I grew up watching and reading horror. From zombies to bloodthirsty aliens, I love them all and they’ve sparked my imagination as a child. I was on one of my trips to the used books store when I came across this book by Clive Barker.

Any fan of the genre would probably know who he is, but just in case; he is the author of the Hellraiser series. He is the author that gave us Pinhead and cenobites and the Lemarchand box (you know, that puzzle box that you solve to summon inter-dimensional demons, it was a movie at some point).

But before we get to it, I’d like to ask for some help. As you all know blogging is a lot of hard work, not that I’m complaining, but I needed your help in maintaining it. No, I’m not going to ask you for some spare change (that would be too embarrassing), but I will tell you about Shopback.

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Now back to the book…

But this month’s book isn’t about some awesome puzzle box but rather about ghosts and Hollywood. Wait, what? Hollywood? Yep, you heard it right; Hollywood, baby!

Written by Clive Barker and published in 2001, Coldheart Canyon is a ghost story like no other. The story revolves around an abandoned mansion in Coldheart Canyon. The novel is a well-crafted satirical jab at Hollywood posing as a ghost story.

Halloween ready

Divided into two parts; the first part was set in 1920. It tells the story of the original owner of the mansion, an actress named Katya Lupi. The other, tells the story of the current tenant, a failing action star named Todd Picket.

It starts off in Romania, 1920, Hollywood star Katya Lupi visits her kin with her agent, Willem Zeffer. During their travels, Willem visits an old castle occupied by monks and buys a unique piece of art. Set to adorn Katya’s new mansion, the art is a series of obscene tiles depicting a local legend. Soon, the mansion will serve as a host to the debaucheries of Hollywood’s elite.

Decades later, action star Todd Picket decides to get plastic surgery to save his career. During the surgery, something went awry that left his face scarred. Unable to face the public, he rented a secluded mansion owned by a starlet from the 1920s for his recovery. Soon enough, the ghosts hiding in the walls of the mansion begins to surface as he unearths its grim history.

The novel was witty and well written, it was able to blend old Hollywood into a ghost story to perfection. It was chilling and atmospheric at best, it did a great job in making the reader feel a sense of eerie dread.

Clive Barker’s style of horror never ceases to give its reader a grave fright and this book is no exception. It is a satire under a genuine ghost story, and I recommend it for a Halloween reading.

So, if you are still on the look-out for a great story for Halloween, give Coldheart Canyon a try.

For courage and freedom, and to the orgy of ghosts that hides underneath the floorboards!

“Sooner or later even the most ambitious glutton must crawl away and seek the solace of the vomitorium.”
― Clive Barker, Coldheart Canyon

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