The Rosedale Horror Horror Book Review
Featured Book Review: Darkbound
Darkbound is an amazing book. Michaelbrent Collings outdid himself with this book. It is not at all what I thought it would be. I took three nights to finish this book because I stayed up way past my bedtime. Darkbound was so suspenseful that I just kept on reading to…
Horror books Review
This one odd duck of a novel, it was published in 1980, while internal evidence dates this book even earlier, probably sometime in the early seventies.
The story goes like this, veteran newspaper writer, columnist, and serial philanderer Charley Quick of the decrepit and soon to be defunct “The Leader” has concocted (faked) with “bosomy” wannabe reporter Melody Bowker to do a story, during the month of Halloween, about the old Groton House, or “Horror House” as it is generally called. The story is rejected by “The Leader”‘s managing editor and he is told to go do it again. Well, if Quick is anything, he’s certainly a lying, lazy, incompetent, dishonest, adulterous, and cute-rate newspaper journalist, and so, after stalling the job as long as he can, he eventually goes to Bower’s rooming house apartment, talks to her, has casual sex (ahh, the early seventies) and goes to visit the haunted house which is conveniently next door. He soon dies in a freak accident. The story then goes to his closest friend at the “The Leader”, Todd Green, who almost as bad a journalist as Quick was.
The novel is episodic and told in six chapters, with each having their own separate character telling the story of the ongoing investigation of the Horror House. After the first couple of chapters you realize that they are all going to end in basically the same way. Still, the story doesn’t start from scratch with each chapter; each builds on the previous ones. In the end though, the ghost components sometimes come in second to the newspaper parts. The first chapter is the worst, it verged on the god-awful, and it wasn’t until I reached the second chapter that I realized that the chapter was told from the viewpoint Charley Quick and Ruddy has written it in Quick’s incompetent style. Quick’s sample column on pages twelve through thirteen is evidence of this. The fourth chapter, psychic Florence Kling Strunk’s chapter, is clearly the best, as it is the chapter that has its proverbial feet strongly planted in the dark fantasy genre.
There are several good things about this obscure novel. One of which is the storyline, this novel came out in 1980, and was clearly published before the great eighties horror boom, and the ending is truly a surprise, although there will be some suspicions about the direction of the plot from the reader. Another is that while the ghost story sometimes takes second place to the inside newspaper soap, Ruddy clearly is taking the whole thing seriously, and by the last page you know that he is trying to do something different with the haunted house genre. I also liked the whole newspaper background, something which Ruddy seems very familiar with, either as a reporter, a columnist, or as something else.
On the negative side are things like the characters, they are almost all self-important losers who think that they are better than they really are, and they all have a belittling attitude towards everybody else, which ends up making them obnoxious a-holes, and making the novel a tough slog at times. Jeez, after a few pages you just wanted to see them all die. Second, instead of being a smooth narrative, the novel is told in six separate segments, each with their own narrator, giving a “serial” feel to the novel, this also effects the pacing which can be stopped dead at times so Ruddy can develop his characters, giving the novel’s narrativea herky-jerky feel to it.
A major problem the novel has is that, as I mentioned above it seems to have been written much earlier than the published date of 1980, most likely in the early seventies. Nixon is constantly mentioned, in fact, during one bar scene, Greene overhears some dialogue from a couple of black men who talk about how they can’t wait until “they” go after Nixon, and then they can get to Canada so they don’t have to fight in “‘Nam”. [**]?!? By 1980 Nixon was long gone, we had gone through two more presidents already, the Vietnam War was even longer gone, and dammit, Rosedale IS IN TORONTO, where the hell are these two going to? To the Antarctic and live with the Eskimos and the harp seals? After the first chapter it becomes obvious that “The Rosedale Horror” was produced to take advantage of America’s Kolchak horror stories, this would explain the archaic popular references.
The novel really isn’t very good, but if, like me, you are a collector and reader of ghost stories and haunted house stories then you will want to get a hold this horror rarity, and ditto if you like newspaper stories. I’m glad I read it, but it’s certainly a non-essential to the average horror fan. It didn’t change my world, nor will it have any lasting effect on me, and I won’t go out of my way to either check out Ruddy’s earlier, and later novel. I’m giving it three stars because I like ghost stories, but the casual horror fan will certainly rate it much lower, as well they should, as it has a rather turgid feel to the writing, although the novel did have its moments, like Strunk’s chapter and the quote that I have titled this review with, but, in the end it would have made a much better novella than it did a novel.
The cover alone though deserves five stars.