Written by: Hunter Shea
I don’t envy Frazer Lee. I mean, what do you do when your debut horror novel, The Lamplighters, is a finalist for the coveted Bram Stoker award? That’s a pretty tough act to follow. Talk about setting a high bar!
I get the feeling after reading his latest novella, The Lucifer Glass, that he’s not the least bit daunted by his own success. And he is in no danger of falling into a sophomore jinx. I’d been wondering what his next work was going to be, waiting anxiously for something to appear on Samhain Publishing’s website. I was very much intrigued when I saw that he was going to release a series of novellas based around the character of Daniel Gates, a self-proclaimed fixer who has a penchant for securing rare artifacts for his wealthy and eccentric clientele.
The Lucifer Glass starts out with Gates recovering from a harrowing escape from Italy where he acquired a mystical mirror inlaid in human bone. It appears his plans went to hell in a hurry and he had to make a quick exit out of the country, burning every avenue of ever returning in his arsenal. The first few chapters introduce us to his international man of mystery, giving us glimpses into his dangerous profession but never revealing too much. The first third of the novella is the lure that draws you in, hooking you for the bizarre ride ahead.
At first, The Lucifer Glass feels a little like a James Bond novel, filled with debonair men of means, opulence, clandestine meetings and talk of arcane objects to be lusted after. Daniel Gates is a man’s man, though we can see easily he does have his flaws, which makes him all the more believable. It’s easier to root for a man who is just as capable as us mere mortals of making a huge misstep.
After the Italy fiasco, one where he still managed to get what he came for, he’s called in to take a trip to Scotland to bring back a bottle of the priceless Zero Malt whiskey, exchanging it for a demonic grimoire. His usual fee is increases exponentially and there’s also the promise of returning his access to Italy once his task is completed.
And here’s where our tale takes a turn into both the horrific and surrealistic. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but once he finds the strange distillery of Zero Malt on the Scottish isle, things get weird. I’m talking fever dream, slipping from one nightmare to the next kind of weird. Lee’s true talent as a writer shines through every page as he takes Daniel and the reader into the mother of all head trips. What the hell has he gotten himself into? What is real and fantasy? Most of all, where is this leading and how can Gates extract himself from this living hell?
I can’t wait for the next novella in the series. I may just hop on a plane and head to England so I can knock on Frazer’s door and demand an advance copy. Trust me, you’ll feel the same way, too.
Order this one right now!