Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
I received an advance copy of The Leper Window by Frazer Lee from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain.
Frazer Lee is another new one on me but when I saw this short story on NetGalley I thought I would give it a go. I liked the description. Sounded intriguing. Did it live up to my expectations?
Daniel Gates has “acquired” a book for his client Mr Rothschild. The book is called Choronzon’s Grimoire. It’s an ancient book of apparently very high value.
Mr Rothschild discovers there is a page missing from the book and this obviously diminishes the value for his client. He isn’t happy and has demanded that Daniel track down the missing page and restore the book to its original condition.
On his quest to find the missing page, Daniel must battle firstly his hangover, then an ancient occult evil to try and restore the book.
This is a short story. You could probably read it in an hour or so. I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this one. I liked it but found it to be a bit confusing. It looks like Daniel Gates has been a character in a previous book and this wasn’t really made clear in the blurb so I felt a bit out of order reading this one without the previous one. There are things talked about in this one that might have made more sense having read the earlier book.
Characters wise, Daniel is a good one. It’s never made clear what his job title actually is or what he does as a profession which is a bit confusing but he certainly knows how to find things and fix things. The other characters don’t really have time to come to the fore because the story is so short but Rothschild seems to be a bit of mysterious person. The stereotypical rich man who demands a lot and doesn’t like failure. One other “main” character is the owner of a bookstore, Hector. He seems to know Daniel well and seems to be a very likeable, if a bit neurotic, person.
In terms of the plot it is pretty simple. Daniel has a book with the page missing and he has to find the missing page. Not giving anything away there at all. It’s what he has to do to find the page that is the interesting part. You know from early on in the story that it’s got something to do with an ancient evil. That bit isn’t really hard to get but it is explained early in the story. It’s what the evil is, and its connection with the book, that you are left wondering.
So what did I think of it? I liked it. Frazer Lee has a lovely writing style that I think fits this type of book perfectly. His writing is very smooth. Very easy to read. He makes the story intriguing and interesting to make you want to turn the pages to find out what exactly is going to happen. This is the type of story I love. Set in modern times with a bit of mystery about it that you know is going to explode with something evil coming from the past. For this I loved it. The storyline, the writing style and the evil.
The thing I didn’t like about it? This story is way too short. It has an excellent plot and story idea that, in my opinion needed to be of at least novella length. It could easily have been a full novel with lots more twists and turns in it to keep the reader glued to it for much much longer. I did like it but this was a big negative for me. I felt a bit robbed that there wasn’t more meat in it. That disappointed me. Not to the point of not reading Mr Lee again but I felt a bit empty when I finished it.
Frazer Lee’s writing style and obvious eye for a good plot and story would certainly make me want to read more of his stuff. I just want them a bit longer.
To summarise: a short story about a man having to battle against an ancient occult evil while searching for a missing page in a book. It has one or two twists in it but they aren’t “Oh My God” moments. Really good writing style which is easy on the eyes but I wanted it much much longer than it was.
★★★ loses stars for a bit of confusion and length for me.
★★★ equally could have been a lot scarier.
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"Do not gaze into its secrets."
Daniel Gates’s last assignment involving a rare demonic book left him plagued by hideous nightmares, which are about to get even worse. When a page is stolen from Choronzon’s Grimoire, Daniel is sent to the wilds of North Wales to retrieve it for his mysterious client. But the stolen page contains dark, occult secrets, and he finds to his peril that he is not the only one desperate to find it. Daniel’s journey takes him to the very brink of madness and to the demons that await—beyond the Leper Window.
Frazer Lee's debut novel, The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for 'Superior Achievement in a First Novel'.
One of Frazer's early short stories received a Geoffrey Ashe Prize from the Library of Avalon, Glastonbury. His short fiction has since appeared in numerous anthologies including the acclaimed 'Read By Dawn' series.
Also a screenwriter and filmmaker, Frazer's movie credits include the award-winning short horror films 'On Edge', 'Red Lines', 'Simone', and the critically acclaimed horror/thriller feature (and movie novelization) 'Panic Button'.
Frazer lectures in Creative Writing and Screenwriting at Brunel University London and Birkbeck, University of London. He resides with his family in leafy Buckinghamshire, England where (when he's not getting lost in a forest) he is working on new fiction and film projects.
And for more about Frazer, visit his site or find him on social media: