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Condemned Paperback – February 7, 2014
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About the Author
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about. Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library. His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft. He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart. He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014. He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion. His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine. He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK. He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project. Check out the blog for the book here: theendoftheworldisnighbook.blogspot.com Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here: www.facebook.com/TheEndOfTheWorldIsNighBook Check his author profile at: www.amazon.com/Scott-Lefebvre/e/B001TQ2W9G Follow him at GoodReads here: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1617246.Scott_Lefebvre Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Burnt-Offerings-Books/1408858196016246 And here: http://burntofferingsbooks.blogspot.com/ Check out his electronic music here: soundcloud.com/master_control And here: master-control.bandcamp.com Check out his videos at: www.youtube.com/user/doctornapoleon Check out his IMDB profile here: www.imdb.com/name/nm3678959 Follow his Twitter here: twitter.com/TheLefebvre or @TheLefebvre Follow his Tumblr here: thelefebvre.tumblr.com Check out his Etsy here: www.etsy.com/shop/ScottLefebvreArt Stalk his Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheLefebvre E-mail him at: Scott_Lefebvre@hotmail.com
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Top customer reviews
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Lefebvre has a prose style that is economic and sparse. He sets the scene with minimal fanfare or flourish, drawing you straight into the narrative. The use of present tense reinforces the feeling that you are observing the events as as they unfold, and the story and character pull you forwards. That same sparse style manages to be deeply atmospheric, creating very effectively a sense of building dread, with zero recourse to hyperbole or purple prose. Lefebve allows the 'facts' to speak for themselves. This is a very hard book to put down, and the feeling of fear has built long before events descend into chaos.
The exposition for the setting is deftly handled, and when the tension finally breaks into action, it doesn't disappoint. This is a deeply compelling and expertly paced horror story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I think it's better than a 3 - the progression of horror elements in it is quite different to the (admittedly few) hardcore horror books I've read. I liked the shift from a fairly innocent story (a group of teens out for a bit of fun in an abandoned building), to something quite shocking (think murders, attempted rape), to a finale with unexpected supernatural elements, is unique. I've never seen three such different styles applied in one story before, and the end result is interesting.
I wouldn't quite give it a 4, however, because while I like to read dark books, I prefer those that deliver their horror more subtly. I also found that although there was some nice description in this book, some of the sentences did not read as smoothly as I like and the effect was to occasionally push me out of the story.
Having said that, in fantasy and science fiction, which are my preferred genre, style and literary effect are often as important as the storyline. In hardcore horror like this, though, plot and shock value are what makes a story effective, so my reluctance to give a 4 star rating might not be particularly fair. Please bear that in mind - if you like your horror visceral, the slow wind-up and brutal conclusion in this story might well be exactly what you're after.
Condemned takes the reader on a journey shared by a group of inexplicably angsty teens who conduct an amateur investigation of the paranormal by breaking into the community’s infamous mental hospital, known popularly as The Gate, which is now abandoned but nevertheless totes a nasty, Overlook-esque past. Every twist and turn in the blackness keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat as the teens explore sketchy depths where atrocities of the past leave their foul, lingering touch. However, things go from bad to worse and from worse to complete chaos when the group discovers they are being pursued through the derelict labyrinth by a group of psychopathic miscreants and the pursuit succeeds in stirring The Gate itself.
This book is a generous offering to readers and viewers of thrillers and the many sub-genres of horror, a culminating love letter to die-hard fans of fright. Characteristic of other cuts from the same cloth, Condemned is fast-paced and brazen, moving the plot along at a rapid but steady pace, with chapter pauses at all the right places to build the tension of what will happen next. The characters appear somewhat two-dimensional at times, with not much revelation to disclose the origins of their characterization, but this does not take away from the story—in fact, the lack of information pays homage to the genre, where character depth is often irrelevant and misplaced in regard to the greater scheme of the plot. This purposeful omission displays Lefebvre’s clear fluency in the genre and falls in line accordingly with the book’s tempo. The author keeps his careful sights on characterizing the true main character of the story: The Gate itself. Doing this is what successfully creates suspense for the reader, as he/she is taken with the teens through Barker-esque pitch corridors, putrid details, and all-around horrifying imagery that culminates in an unforgettable and unpredictable pandemoniac climax that will haunt his/her dreams for days to come.
Needless to say, Condemned delivers a bloody and fitting payoff that horror fans will eat right up (and that will scare the wits out of everyone else), but that is not to say the rest of the book is overshadowed by the ending. Condemned is a solid and highly entertaining piece of chilling fiction, and although it may be fairly fast to get through (mostly for its suspenseful qualities), it is not at all light reading. In fact, about the only downfall of the book is that it would have benefited from page numbering and the eyes of a professional editor before publishing, but the focus of any good reader should always be a story’s viscera. That said, the guts of Condemned are hearty, substantial, and original despite its madhouse motif; it is a tale rife with originality, drenched in fright, and slick with gore.
Quite possibly the best independent horror novel of last year, Condemned is not for the faint of heart, although it is completely accessible for those new to or unfamiliar with the genre. A mere love of suspense is enough to warrant an investment in this reasonably priced book, as Condemned never ceases to leave the reader both anxious and wary to turn the next page. Either way, it is an excellent purchase whose exploration into the underbelly of both human and supernatural evil is worth every penny. Lefebvre continues to show the world of literary horror that he can crawl under the reader’s skin with the best of them, superbly expressing the fruits of a dark and unique imagination that is capable and successful in expelling worlds of unfathomable terror. Only a few words of caution need be heeded before buying this book: you may want to refrain from reading it before bed!
Most recent customer reviews
well written to the point you get so caught up in the characters and story line you cant put it down
action drama shock are...Read more