Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crowley's Window, by Gord Rollo

(pb; 2012: novella)


From the back cover:

"Abby Hawkins was never normal.  Born with a birth cowl. . . a rare birth defect thought to predict future psychic abilities. . . she is haunted by horrible visions.  Shortly after her thirteenth birthday, Abby's parents call in the mysterious [Marcus] Crowley to help their daughter.  His interventions rid her of her visions. . . and her eyes.

"Now a beautiful young lady, Abby Hawkins works as a blind fortune teller in a travelling Carnival.  When she receives a powerful vision. . . one depicting the abduction of a little girl - she becomes the sole witness to the crime.  Only a young police officer believes her bizarre story, and with his help she embarks upon an investigation that will ultimately reunite her with the madman from her past and bring her to the hellish threshold of Crowley's Window.

"Special bonus inside:  The short story, Memories of a Haunted Man, a dark tale about a family in desperation written by Gord Rollo and Everett Bell."


Review:

Crowley's Window is a good, entertaining horror novella, one that made put me in the mixed mindset of a Seventies horror film (e.g., The Devil's Rain and The Fury), Robert Wiene's 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and a 1980s horror novel, because of its elements of Satanism, psychic phenomena, carnie life (Caligari has a carnivalesque visual aspect) and stripped-down storyline and writing style.  There's not one wasted word in this gem of a B-flick novella.  Not only that, the effective, fun end-twist is simultaneously cheesy and smile-inducing (it felt like a knowing wink from Rollo).

In this book, Rollo also included a post-Crowley, thematically-similar tale of familial dysfunction, Memories of a Haunted Man, one he co-authored with Everett Bell.  It's a good fit for Crowley, and, like its attached novella, an entertaining (if sad) read.

Between these two works, Crowley's Window is a worthwhile purchase.  Check it out.


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