Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hellraiser: The Toll [Novella Review]

I am not sure how this one slipped through the cracks, but it did. Released on Feb. 28th, by Subterranean Press, Hellraiser: The Toll tells the story of what transpired between Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart (published in '86) and The Scarlet Gospels (published in '15).

The Toll is a short Novella (73 digital pages) that flies at a breakneck pace, from the Prologue all the way through to the Epilogue. The story is by Clive Barker, but the novella is written by Mark Alan Miller(?!?) I am not sure how that works, as there is no explanation. I will say that the book is also available in Hardcover (for $40! - a bit pricey for such a short story). Even though I own both The Hellbound Heart & The Scarlet Gospels in print, being unfamiliar with Mr. Miller, I opted with the considerably cheaper $3 e-book.

Having now read the story though, I will be keeping an eye on the price of the Hardcover as the story is that good! Miller has written a completely engrossing tale, with such a jaw-dropping revelation within the story that I wrote the quote and then deleted it and then rewrote it and deleted it once more. However, I feel that it is best for you to discover it for  yourself.

I will leave you with the book's synopsis:

"Thirty years after Kirsty Cotton escaped from the clutches of the Hell Priest, Pinhead, and lived to fight another day, her life has never been the same. Every few years she fashions a new name, a new identity, and a new home for herself; She is a woman who is running from her past at all costs, which is why it comes as such a surprise when she receives a mysterious letter in the mail, addressed to the woman she’s been running from over half her life. 

Answering the letter’s query, she begins a descent down a rabbit hole to the ultimate confrontation. Her actions stir something unnamable in the ether, and throw her into a game where nothing—not even what she sees in front of her very eyes—can be trusted. 

With equal parts economy and eloquence, author Mark Alan Miller brings to life the beginning of the end as The Toll expands the Hellraiser universe, and shows that before Harry D’Amour’s adventures in The Scarlet Gospels, there was a first witness to Pinhead’s infernal plan."


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