Coldheart Canyon

Coldheart Canyon

4.0 46
by Clive Barker
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Hollywood has made a star of Todd Pickett. But time is catching up with him. He doesn't have the perfect looks he had last year. After plastic surgery goes awry, Todd needs somewhere to hide away for a few months while his scars heal.

As Todd settles into a mansion in Coldheart Canyon -- a corner of the city so secret it doesn't even appear on any

See more details below

Overview

Hollywood has made a star of Todd Pickett. But time is catching up with him. He doesn't have the perfect looks he had last year. After plastic surgery goes awry, Todd needs somewhere to hide away for a few months while his scars heal.

As Todd settles into a mansion in Coldheart Canyon -- a corner of the city so secret it doesn't even appear on any map -- Tammy Lauper, the president of his fan club, comes to the City of Angels determined to solve the mystery of Todd's disappearance. Her journey will not be an easy one. The closer she gets to Todd the more of Coldheart Canyon's secrets she uncovers: the ghosts of the A-list stars who came to the Canyon for wild parties; Katya Lupi, the cold-hearted, nowforgotten star for whom the Canyon was named, who is alive and exquisite after a hundred years; and, finally, the door in the bowels of Katya's dream palace that reputedly open up to another world, the Devil's Country. No one who has ever ventured to this dark, barbaric corner of hell has returned without their souls shadowed by what they'd seen and done.

Mingling an insider's view of modern Hollywood with a wild streak of visionary fantasy, Coldheart Canyon is a book without parallel: an irresistible and unmerciful picture of Hollywood and its demons, told with all the style and raw narrative power that have made Clive Barker's books and films a phenomenon worldwide.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Martin Morse Wooster
Coldheart Canyon is a mildly entertaining novel.
Washington Post Book World
Publishers Weekly
HBarker fans may breathe a sigh of relief. That the Walt Disney Company is paying $8 million for ancillary rights to the author's forthcoming for-all-ages novel series, The Arabat Quartet (first volume due out in 2002), doesn't mean the British master of dark fantasy has lost his savage bite. Barker's new novel is a ferocious indictment of (and backhanded tribute to) Hollywood Babylon, depicted through Barker's glorious imagination as a nexus of human and inhuman evil where fleshly pursuits corrupt the spirit. It's also one ripping ghost story, spooky and suspenseful, as well as a departure for Barker in that here, as never before, the fantastic mingles with the real, kind of. Many ghosts haunt the titular canyon, and some of them are the shades of men and women we already know as shadows of the silver screen: Victor Mature makes an appearance, as do George Sanders, Mary Pickford and many others. When alive, these stars and their colleagues were drawn by the beautiful, rapacious film star Katya Lupi to her magnificent home in Los Angeles's Coldheart Canyon. What kept them at the house, even after death, is the incredible room in its lowest story. Assembled from thousands of painted tiles, that room brought to California in the 1920s from an ancient monastery in Romania is literally alive with evil; the tiles depict a world that mortals may enter, and within which the Queen of Hell has condemned a nobleman to hunt forever, or until he entraps her son. The room's powers bestow timeless youth on some, including Katya, but give rise to monstrous entities as well. In the present day, into this horrific place enter several modern sorts, most notably A-list film hero Todd Pickett and a dowdywoman, head of Todd's fan club, whose courage and good sense mark her as the novel's hero. The narrative rocks, as Barker's always do, with intense violence and sex sacred, profane and grotesque; a torrent of intent and emotion from the depraved to the sublime; and, here, an impressive thematic excavation of the interplay between illusion and reality, the fantastic and the real. Many of the players without famous names are reminiscent, nastily, of known celebrities; decoding this roman clef is fun. But entertainment is only one card Barker flashes. Along with the others a fluid writing style; a canvas whose twisted originality rivals Bosch; a depth of theme; and an understanding of the human yearning for good and evil alike they add up to a royal flush, one of the most accomplished, and most notable, novels of the year. (On sale Oct. 8.) Forecast: Major ad/promo, including a five-city author tour, plus the book's excellence and the buzz surrounding Barker's Disney deal, as well as a dynamite b&w cover photo of the author as an old-time film star, will make this novel Barker's most popular and most talked-about book to date. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
It is 1916 in the Hollywood of Theda Bara and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and silent film star Katya Lupi receives a magnificent gift: an entire room constructed of hand-painted tiles removed from a Romanian monastery and installed, piece by piece, on her Hollywood estate. Not only is the room an aesthetic masterpiece but it is also possessed by the Devil. Katya, a woman of strong desires and appetites, quickly learns to use its powers to her advantage, ensnaring the souls of other cinema legends who share her thirst for beauty, fame, and fortune. From this dangerous precipice, Barker, whose numerous best-selling novels (Galilee, etc.) and experience as a film producer have won him a loyal following, entices his readers to leap into a fantastical world populated by ghostly beasts that roam the hills of a modern-day Tinseltown. His masterly descriptions of this world and the pathological behavior that occurs within it provide an eerie realism, compelling the reader to venture further. Essential for Barker fans, though others may be disappointed in the unevenness that results from the emphasis on plot at the expense of character development. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/01.]Nancy McNicol, Hagaman Memorial Lib., East Haven, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
If Billy Wilder had made Sunset Boulevard as a German Expressionist silent film, it might have been a lot like this engagingly nutty melodrama from the author-director of such stylish horrorfests as the Hellraiser movies and the genre-classic Books of Blood. The story opens in the 1920s, when Willem Zeffer, manager to European-born silent film vamp Katya Lupescu, impulsively purchases and transports to America a roomful of painted tiles that graphically depict bizarre sexual encounters set in the context of an unending "hunt." The lurid "masterwork" thereafter becomes a magnet that draws numerous Hollywood notables to Katya's mansion in the eponymous Canyon (named for her own heartless sadism). All this unfolds while Barker follows the misfortunes (some 60 years later) of contemporary action-film hunk Todd Pickett, who recuperates at the mansion from botched cosmetic surgery, and the president of an "appreciation society" devoted to Todd, unlovely, unhappily married Tammy Lauper, who follows her hero to this impossibly jaded hell on earth. All the familiar Barker mannerisms appear in profusion: witty satirical jabs (this time at Hollywood's culture of glamorous excess) blunted by lax, sloppy prose and pretentious diction ("disorientate," "bizarrity," etc.); credible and appealing characters (especially Todd, who's made sympathetic in a long early sequence describing the death of his beloved dog); and supernatural fireworks featuring strange combinations of human, animal, and unknown life forms (you can almost feel Barker's hand grasping at the mantle worn for centuries by Hieronymus Bosch). Before all hell finally, predictably breaks loose, most readers will have tuned out (the novel isenormously too long). Still, Barker possesses one of contemporary fiction's wildest and finest imaginations, and the "backstory" of the hunt pictured on those tiles-of a nobleman who inadvertently offends Lucifer and must thereafter spend eternity making reparation-has the power and allure of ancient legend. If you can tolerate Barker at his most fantastical and effusive, you won't want to miss Coldheart Canyon. Other readers might want to go back to Jacqueline Susann.
People
“Barker’s vision is impressively bizarre—think Anne Rice meets Jacqueline Susann.”
USA Today
“Wickedly enjoyable... endlessly entertaining...a powerhouse of a novel... irresistible.”
Time Out (London)
“...in the language of fear, he has no equals.”
Washington Post
“[Clive Barker] is a mapmaker of the mind, charting the farthest reaches of the imagination.... ”
Atlanta Journal & Constitution
“A writer of stunning imagination.”
The Baltimore Sun
“Riveting.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“When you’re in the mood for forgettable escapism, nobody does it better.”

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060182977
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/02/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
688
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.51(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Your wife did not want to look around the Fortress any further, Mister Zeffer?" Father Sandru said, seeing that on the second day the middle-aged man with the handsome, sad face had come alone.

"The lady is not my wife," Zeffer explained.

"Ah..." the monk replied, the tone of commiseration in his voice indicating that he was far from indifferent to Katya's charms. "A pity for you, yes?"

"Yes," Zeffer admitted, with some discomfort.

"She's a very beautiful woman."

The monk studied Zeffer's face as he spoke, but having said what he'd said, Zeffer was unwilling to play the confessee any further.

"I'm her manager," he explained. "That's all there is between us."

Father Sandru, however, was not willing to let the issue go just yet. "After the two of you departed yesterday," he said, his English colored by his native Romanian, "one of the brothers remarked that she was the most lovely woman he had ever seen..." he hesitated before committing to the rest of the sentence "...in the flesh."

"Her name's Katya, by the way," Zeffer said.

"Yes, yes, I know," said the Father, his fingers combing the knotted gray-white of his beard as he stood assessing Zeffer.

The two men were a study in contrasts. Sandru ruddy-faced and rotund in his dusty brown habit, Zeffer slimly elegant in his pale linen suit.

"She is a movie star, yes?"

"You saw one of her films?"

Sandru grimaced, displaying a poorly-kept array of teeth. "No,no," he said. "I do not see these things. At least not often. But there is a little cinema in Ravbac, and some of the younger brothers go down there quite regularly. They are great fans of Chaplin, of course. And there's a...vamp...is that the word?"

"Yes," Zeffer replied, somewhat amused by this conversation. "Vamp's the word."

"Called Theda Bara."

"Oh, yes. We know Theda."

In that year -- which was 1920 -- everybody knew Theda Bara. She had one of the most famous faces in the world. As, of course, did Katya. Both were famous; their fame tinged with a delicious hint of decadence.

"I must go with one of the brothers when they next go to see her," Father Sandru said.

"I wonder if you entirely understand what kind of woman Theda Bara portrays?" Zeffer replied.

Sandru raised a thicketed eyebrow. "I am not born yesterday, Mister Zeffer. The Bible has its share of these women, these vamps. They're whores, yes; women of Babylon? Men are drawn to them only to be destroyed by them?"

Zeffer laughed at the directness of Sandru's description. I suppose that's about right," he said.

"And in real life?" Sandru said.

"In real life Theda Bara's name is Theodesia Goodman. She was born in Ohio."

"But is she a destroyer of men?"

"In real life? No, I doubt it. I'm sure she harms a few egos now and again, but that's about the worst of it."

Father Sandru looked mildly disappointed. "I shall tell the brothers what you told me," he said. "They'll be very interested. Well then...shall I take you inside?"

Willem Matthias Zeffer was a cultured man. He had lived in Paris, Rome, London and briefly in Cairo in his forty-three years; and had promised himself that he would leave Los Angeles -- where there was neither art nor the ambition to make art -- as soon as the public tired of lionizing Katya, and she tired of rejecting his offer of marriage. They would wed, and come back to Europe; find a house with some real history on its bones, instead of the fake Spanish mansion her fortune had allowed her to have built in one of the Hollywood canyons.

Until then, he would have to find aesthetic comfort in the objets d'art he purchased on their trips abroad: the furniture, the tapestries, the statuary. They would suffice, until they could find a château in the Loire, or perhaps a Georgian house in London; somewhere the cheap theatrics of Hollywood wouldn't curdle his blood.

"You like Romania?" the Father asked as he unlocked the great oak door that lay at the bottom of the stairs.

"Yes, of course," Zeffer replied.

"Please do not feel you have to sin on my account," Sandru said, with a sideways glance.

"Sin?"

"Lying is a sin, Mister Zeffer. Perhaps it's just a little one, but it's a sin nevertheless."

Oh Lord, Zeffer thought; how far I've slipped from the simple proprieties! Back in Los Angeles he sinned as a matter of course; every day, every hour. The life he and Katya lived was built on a thousand stupid little lies.

But he wasn't in Hollywood now. So why lie? "You're right. I don't like this country very much at all. I'm here because Katya wanted to come. Her Mother and father -- I'm sorry, her stepfather -- live in the village."

"Yes. This I know. The mother is not a good woman."

"You're her priest?"

"No. We brothers do not minister to the people. The Order of Saint Teodor exists only to keep its eyes on the Fortress." He pushed the door open. A dank smell exuded from the darkness ahead of them.

"Excuse me for asking," Zeffer said. "But it was my understanding from yesterday that apart from you and your brothers, there's nobody here."

"Yes, this is true. Nobody here, except the brothers."

"So what are you keeping your eyes on?"

Sandru smiled thinly. "I will show you," he said. "As much as you wish to see."

He switched on a light, which illuminated ten yards of corridor. A large tapestry hung along the wall, the image upon it so gray with age and dust as to be virtually beyond interpretation.

The Father proceeded down the corridor, turning on another light as he did...

Coldheart Canyon. Copyright © by Clive Barker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >