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3.0 out of 5 stars
Crimson
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a big fan of Jigsaw Man, I expected something more than what I got. I read the back and fell for the comparison to the book It, however, and that got me going. I figured G. Rollo to be someone that might be a nice craftsman in that regard and, honestly, I wanted a new It because of the impact that book had. The delivery was anything but what I expected, and I think that made me a little bit frustrated as I forced myself to go on.

I've read a lot of horror and I know when I am bonding or when I am being forced to stomach a character. Topping that part off was also the length of the book itself, which came in at a little less than 300 pages. Considering the book it sought to try and be like was over three times that size, it is easy to see how characters might fall short and how the character could also fall somewhat short as well.

When the bok came out it seemed to have a lot to offer. It seems seductive still, sounding really nice but not really coming across like you would want it to. If you feel that you might find something in it and this is wrong, you can always sample a little piece of it and see what everyone else sees. That said, I am giving this 2/5 stars and I rarely do that. I simply recall what the author is capable of doing and, well, this is not a great or even modest showing.

Sad. Really sad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is dark and relentless stuff, from someone who doesn't want to give you too much time to catch your breath. Author Gord Rollo is obviously someone knows and loves the horror genre, and that makes "Crimson" a lot of fun to read. Sure, it has some flaws (a first novel in the small press always does) but the author's intensity and wicked gleefulness more than compensate for them. For a macabre, Halloween-style kick in the butt, try "Crimson." It's a blast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gord Rollo's Second novel is in my humble oppinion, far superior to his first. Where Jigsaw Man was an interesting new take on the Mad Scientist tale, Crimson is much closer to the "small band of kids take on monster who lives in their small town" tale that so many horror writers eventually touch on. Stephen King's being the most notable IT then we have Dan Simmons with Summer of Night and even fellow Leisure Author Brian Keene with Ghoul.

Though Crimson starts out much as all of the others, we quickly take a different turn. The opening scene of this book is a real kick in the gut and will thrill the most avid of gore hounds. From there we travel to about 20 years later. The small farmhouse where our opening scene took place has sat abandoned for all of those years, quietly awaiting new blood to move in. When an unaware single mother and her young son move into the house, there is a stirring in the well out back. Soon four young friends end up playing at the house and discovering an ancient evil trapped away. The four boys fight for their lives as their worst nightmares come to pass.

Crimson follows these kids from the time they unleash the monster through their lives as it revisits them, bringing all new terrors with them each time it shows back up.

The writing in this book is very strong and the book is extremely interesting. I only had three minor annoyances that I was able to forget and still enjoy the book. The first being that there were too many characters who's name started with "D" I don't know why that bothered me, but for some reason it did. The second was that the characters age significantly from the beginnning of the book through the end, but they never seem to grow mentally to match their ages. And the third was that towards the end of the book there is a large bit of exposition that sort of explained everything that had been going on... I would have preferred for some of it to have been left to the imagination and other bits of it to have been figured out throughout the tale rather than having it all explained at once. Still that was not enough to keep me from really enjoying this read. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good fun scare.

Recommended reading ages - 15 and up depending on maturity
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a long time fan of horror, I found this book to be exceedingly average in every department. The narration itself is as plain and literal as can be... don't even bother looking for a higher meaning. No clever phrasing or play of words, no subtle allusions or ambiguity. Generic story with generic characters. It's not bad, but I look for something more than "competent" when I'm committing the time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Reminiscent of It, Crimson revolves around four friends who are entangled in a living nightmare. The plot is gripping and intense, a true page-turner. Also, even though it carries the same air as King's, this one is It's superior in every possible way and as you read the only overshadowing the previous book carries is your amazement that you thought it's power would hold forever.

The pace in the book is constant. Never pushing you ahead or lagging behind, the speed carries the story faultlessly. The atmosphere in the book is nauseatingly thick. As you read the pressure builds, increasing in both dread and anticipation. The setting in the story changes locales constantly, but maintains the normalcy of home and the expectations of reality.

Rollo's style of writing is clear, concise and direct. Never one to use $.10 words, he writes without pretension, realizing he doesn't need to show off his large vocabulary to impress us. I thank you Gord, the readers thank you, but mostly dog-eared ten-year-old dictionaries around the world thank you.

The characters start out great, both intelligent and genuine. Notice I said start. For some reason, as we follow these boys through adolescence into adulthood, their intelligence seems to dwindle. Their personalities, oddly enough, never changes. Rather than have their identies mature along with their age, they still act like scared little boys.

One other problem occurred. It was on page 139. The sixth paragraph, thirtieth line, 349th word on the page. For the love of all that is nasty let Jack the Ripper rest in his murderous hole. There have been countless murders more gruesome and more mind-boggling than the case of Thee Who Shall Not Be Named.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely loved Gord Rollo's last book, "The Jigsaw Man", and recommended it to all my friends, but I thought his latest book, "Crimson", was a considerable step down. Granted, those were mighty big shoes to fill since Jigsaw was one of the best books of that year, but had I not known, I never would have guessed this book had the same author.

The first third of "Crimson" follows four ten-year-old boys and their accidental awakening of a long-dead creature that had caused a terrible massacre two decades prior. This portion of the book had some great moments that were original and suspenseful. However, once the jump in time occurred and we begin to follow them as teenagers, the atmosphere seemed to dissipate a bit. Scenes started almost immediately with the action and didn't allow for the creepiness to set in. I'm also not a fan of creatures that talk with an attitude. It reminds me too much of Freddy Kruger or the doll Chucky from "Child's Play". It's simply not scary.

A couple other issues I had was the glowing red eyes - not red, but actually glowing to the point of illuminating things in the room - like Rudolph's nose from the animated cartoon. Being red or having a dim glow is one thing, but lighting up like a beacon was too much. I also thought the characters, in general, were not very intelligent, making decisions that didn't quite feel right. For instance, when the Police Chief catches a character in a lie that proves his guilt as a serial killer, the Chief doesn't see fit to continue the interrogation or have officers tail him after leaving the police station. I mean, we're talking over a half dozen bodies here and the police knowingly let this guy just walk away. There is also a scene where a rather large fight ensues and at the end, we find out that one of the participants had a cigarette in his mouth. It was never described until the moment the character needed it and I thought that was just too convenient.

Finally, the third portion of the book follows the boys (the ones that are left alive) as adults and we spend most of the time in a maximum security prison. These scenes showed nothing we haven't seen before. The big baddies, the jail fights, the token thief, and the friendly 'Green Mile' giant with a heart of gold. The biggest disaster here was the 30 or so pages of explanation as to why the creature has been doing all these evil deeds. It felt as if the author had dug so many holes throughout the book that he was simply, and desperately, trying to fill them back up by this exposition, regardless of how utterly convoluted and far-fetched it may seem, even in this supernatural world.

While some might compare "Crimson" as a mix of Stephen King's "It" and Brian Keene's "Ghoul", this is nowhere near either of those fine books. For me, this was one of the biggest disappointments in the last two years of horror, because Gord Rollo's book, "The Jigsaw Man" was so amazing. Apparently "Crimson" was Rollo's first book, even though it was published by Leisure books second. That's a good thing, though, because I'm not sure I would have picked up "The Jigsaw Man" had I read "Crimson" first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I was still relatively new to horror fiction, I had an assumption that every horror writer needed to write a kids vs. a monster story. Stephen King did it with It (among other stories) and Dan Simmons did it with Summer of Night. Of course, there is no such requirement, and most authors have not written such a book. Gord Rollo, however, has given it a shot with Crimson, a book that owes at least a little to It.

In a small Canadian town called Dunnville, Mary Page and her ten-year-old son Johnny have moved into the notorious Harrison house, where decades earlier, the patriarch did some horrible things to his family. The evil thing that sparked this murderous rampage is now sleeping in a well, but the Pages' presence has reawakened it. When Johnny has some friends over, the monster torments them all, occupying their nightmares and threatening their waking world as well. Soon enough, one boy will be dead, and one will strike an unholy bargain with the monster.

Crimson is divided into three parts, following the characters as pre-teens, nineteen year olds and as adults. Between the parts, the monster lies dormant, plotting its next moves. In the second part, it will initiate a serial killing spree, and in the third part, its full plan will become known.

While Rollo has stuck to horror for his second novel, Crimson is quite different from his previous book, The Jigsaw Man. It's the sign of a good writer when he shows true variety in story. While generally good, however, Crimson has its flaws, primarily in the final section, where there is a lot of exposition to explain what the monster truly is, which both slows the pace down and overly complicates things. Overall, however, Crimson is entertaining and shows that Rollo is someone to watch in the world of horror.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Last year, Gord Rollo debuted with his first novel "The Jigsaw Man" and established himself as a premier voice in horror fiction. Though his follow-up effort "Crimson" lacks some of "Jigsaw's" emotional punch, it's still a frightening ride. His voice is strong and he continues to frighten and entertain. The novel begins with a jolt: an unthinkable, bloody act, and then settles into a haunting tale that ends with a twist.

From the moment Johnny moved to Dunnville, he and Pete, Tommy and David were best of friends. They hung out, talked about "guy stuff" and did things that boys do. The only problem? Johnny and his mother moved into Old Man Harrison's place; an old house haunted by the legend of a man who murdered his whole family. They avoid playing there for awhile, but a Saturday afternoon outing there is inevitable.

What they find is unspeakable evil. A being of incalculable malice has slept in an old well since the horrible day of Old Man Harrison's slaughter. All this time it's been waiting for new flesh to play with. When Johnny and his friends accidentally disturb its underwater sleep, they're exposed to an evil that will torment them for the rest of their days.

In many ways, "Crimson" displays Gordo's versatility. While "The Jigsaw Man" offered wrenching questions about quality of life, "Crimson" is a classic tale that never looses its strength: how timeless evil follows unfortunate souls and dominates their destiny. His characterization of four boys faced with a horror their parents dismiss is authentic, and he doesn't take this novel to its expected "childhood friends band together to destroy evil" conclusion.

A few reviews may be overly enthusiastic, however. One claims "Crimson is (Stephen King's) It's superior in every possible way." This isn't quite accurate, because "Crimson" doesn't have the same depth as It...but then again, what recent novel does? Aside from that, Gord Rollo's second outing is perfect to curl up with on late, cold winter nights. It'll make you wonder what's hiding at the bottom of your well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the 1950's, the small town of Dunnville was shocked by an unspeakable crime. Jacob Harrison, a well-liked man butchered his entire family. Even more disgusting was the revelation that he had cannibalized their remains. Jacob hung himself in an upstairs room but when the police went to remove his body, all that was left was the noose and Harrison's body was never found. Cut ahead some twenty years later and a single mom and her son have moved into the old Harrison home. Johnny soon makes friends with other local boys and when they are searching the Harrison farm to find a spot to build a clubhouse, they uncover an old stairway and an underground room. They release a frightening evil entity that haunts their nights and terrifies them during the day. Is this Jacob Harrison? Or something worse?

Crimson calls up comparisons to Stephen King's "It". Like that book, we have a slice of small town life thrown into chaos by pure evil. If anything, Rollo's story is much more visceral than "It" and it's opening prelude is disturbing to say the least. I love these kind of small town horrors because life there can be so claustrophobic that it adds to the terror. And then Rollo starts in with the leeches...I hate leeches, and Crimson is filled with them to the point of nausea. What is also effective about the story is the fact that you don't know what the group of boys is dealing with. Is this really Old Man Harrison, somehow surviving being hung? Or is this the force which drove him to murder and devour his family. The fun is in the discovery!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read Rollo's previous book, Jigsaw Man and loved it (I recommend THAT one). And so, when I saw Crimson was coming out, I couldn't wait for it.

When it was finally published, I quickly felt deception. I couldn't even get in the first part of the book where they are children. I tried and tried to finish it, and I am one to finish books, even when they are horrible because sometimes they end out better and I like to know the ending when I get into a story. This was probably harder to get into than some other books I've read, but in the end, I did waste my time. Even the ending isn't worth reading.

As a previous reviewer has mentioned, I, too, didn't feel as though it was even the same author as Jigsaw Man. Crimson left me with such a bitter taste that I don't even want to try him again, which is unfortunate, since Jigsaw Man was great.

I have lent Jigsaw Man to family members who loved that book and wanted more. I then lent them Crimson, and none of them could finish it.

Don't waste your time or money, this book is horrible.
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