2001, Republished in E-Book Format in 2012
Welcome to the first edition of Bloodsoaked Pages here on The Deadhouse! I’ve long wanted to make sure that the site covers nearly every aspect of horror that us fiends are able to get our hands on. As has been evidenced in my previous reviews, I choose to look at every bit of horror that is attainable, and I am a big fan of comics as well as novels. In the past few years I have really stretched out and found certain writers that are not as well known to the general public, thanks to the technological advances of the E-Book format. If you take the time to look, you are able to find incredible talent that just hasn’t made that transition to the mainstream. One of the best examples of this is author Edward Lee who has become known in the underground as one of the absolute masters of literary mayhem. If you’ve ever read anything by the incredible Lee you will know that his work makes people like Stephen King and Peter Straub look like Mickey Mouse stories. Over the past two years or so I have become quite enthralled with the man’s work, so I felt it would be fitting that the first Bloodsoaked Pages be dedicated to his work The Chosen, which is the most recent of his works that I have finished reading.
The Chosen tells the story of Vera Abbott, a restaurant manager who has turned her current place of employment from what was essentially a dump into one of the most successful restaurants in town. Vera has close friends that she works with in the restaurant, which include Dan B., who is a very talented chef and has helped his now-wife Donna recover from her alcoholism. And of course there is Lee the dishwasher, who Lee created in his own image, as he was a dishwasher during his youth. Vera also has a new fiancé, Paul, who is a freelance writer. One night while working Vera is visited by a man named Feldspar, who offers her an incredibly lucrative opportunity to run the restaurant in his new hotel, simply called The Inn. However, The Inn is an old building where several tragedies have occurred and is recognized as being haunted by the locals. And it is also very far out of the way, so Vera decides to decline the offer.
Later that night she comes home to find her fiancé in bed with two women. Well, it turns out that one of them isn’t a woman and some disturbingly well described sexual acts happen. Needless to say, Vera decides to take Feldspar up on his offer, bringing Dan B., Donna and Lee along with her, which effectively destroys the restaurant they were working at. Once they arrive at The Inn strange things begin occurring, and Vera also finds herself at odds with Kyle, who runs the room service and hotel side of The Inn. To go into much more detail would detract from the effect that the book has on its readers, but it becomes obvious quite quickly that nothing is really what it seems.
If you have ever read any of Edward Lee‘s works, you know what you are in store for. While most authors shy away from being over-descriptive with their violence and sexual acts, it is quite clear that Lee revels in it. I have read many of his original works (Lee is also a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and has a series of books written in the same vein as the legendary writer) and there is always at least one brutally violent scene, as well as incredibly descriptive sexual deviance.
Lee is also one of those authors that has the incredible skill to make it feel like you aren’t reading a novel, but rather being told a story by a friend. Very few authors have this incredible talent (the only other author I can think of off the top of my head is the early works by Stephen King), but it certainly makes the reading a much more enjoyable experience. Despite the amount of explicit violence and sexual descriptions (the only hint I will give is that some may be reminded of the 1992 film The Crying Game) there is also a deviant sense of humor laced throughout the story. This is certainly more helpful for new readers who may not have known what they got into when they picked the book up.
One complaint about the novel is actually something that I have noticed plagues several of Lee‘s works. He spends an incredible amount of time introducing the characters and spending time with them as they deal with the strange occurrences happening at The Inn, but once all hell breaks loose you are left with very little book to read. While the climax is still well done, very little time is spent dealing with the consequences and reality of the story’s actions. This may be due to apparent pressure from the original publication company who had Lee insert a happy ending, and it certainly feels tacked on when you look back at the story. The publication company also made the decision to title the novel The Chosen while Lee had intended for the book to be called The Inn. Regardless of these small deficiencies the book is still something that should be read and experienced by any hardened horror fan. As I am sure you have gathered from the review, Lee‘s works are not for the faint of heart, but if you feel like you can handle anything that is thrown at you from a man who knows the darker side of the genre, then be sure to grab a copy of The Chosen.
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