The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee. Book review

THE LAMPLIGHTERS by Frazer Lee, Samhain Publishing, p/b, $15.00,

Reviewed by David Brzeski

On occasion it can be difficult to know exactly what to write in a review. Especially for a book, in which you are kept guessing as to where the story is going right up until the end. It’s difficult, because in these cases you really can’t say too much about the plot, without spoiling the book for other readers.

This is a case in point. ‘The Lamplighters’ is the tale of a young woman named Marla Neuborn. Marla is a loser. Her life is a mess, she has no prospects & she mostly has only herself to blame.

Then, out of the blue, she receives a job offer from the mysterious Consortium Inc.. It sounds wonderful. She’d simply have to look after one of several properties on an idyllic Mediterranean island. The owners are only there very occasionally, so to fulfil their resident status requirements, they employ housekeepers (Lamplighters) to use the facilities a little each day & keep the mansion & grounds in good order. The rest of the time, they can soak up the sun & enjoy their beautiful surroundings. Employees will stay on the island for a period of one year, during which their generous wage will be held on account for them until their return. It sounds too good to be true, but Marla has no real choice, so she chooses to ignore her misgivings.

Right from the start things start to get odd, with strange, draconian rules as to what is forbidden on the island. The author builds a scenario of paradise not quite right, that gradually gets weirder & more unsettling as Marla’s time on the island progresses. It’s not long before she doesn’t know who to trust.

I was somewhat reminded of the TV show ‘Lost’, in the way that the mystery builds & every question is answered with yet more questions. The difference is that Frazer Lee actually does know where the story is going & it eventually ends up somewhere very nasty indeed.

The final chapters are truly horrifying & made all the more so by the gradual build-up. Most authors of visceral, bloody horror get into the gruesome stuff almost from the start. Not so with Frazer Lee. There are hints to be sure, even as early as chapter one, but you really won’t see the ending coming.

The Skin Mechanic is destined to become one of the great monsters of modern horror & I can’t wait to read more about him.

At the time of writing, Samhain are offering the paperback at a special offer price of $10.50 & an ebook version is available in a multitude of formats for $5.50.