Once again, welcome to the delightfully cynical world of Ray Garton's creation where love leads to death, friendship to betrayal, and bliss to eternal mourning; where the beleaguered heroes and heroines, overcome by their own carnal desires are destroyed by a calculating villainess who employs her feminine wiles to capture her prey, enchanting whilst devouring, creating ecstasy whilst enacting vengeance. Meet your new neighbor. She not only wants your body, she wants your soul too.
Meet the new neighbor, Lorelle Dupree. She not only captivates the imagination with her haunting beauty but with her inexplicable aura that proves both disconcerting and strangely enticing. Her presence in the sleepy town of Redding is sure to create quite a stir as the formerly hapless denizens begin to realize that their new neighbor is very special and very friendly. The first to fall victim to Lorelle's spell is the seventeen year old Robby Pritchard. Seduced by his new neighbor, Robby discovers the side effects of the encounter to be massively undesirable and impenetrably strange. Soon, the entire town of Redding including Robby¡¦s parents and his younger sister contract the flu like symptoms that seem to assail all those who are privately entertained by the licentious Lorelle. Only, it isn't the flu. The formerly peaceful town of Redding erupts into a bubbling brew of vitriolic violence and depravity. Lorelle Dupree, bewitching neighbor, ancient seductress, and merciless consumer of souls has come to Redding with only one mission in mind. Will any be able to counter the plague of evil that she issues so mercilessly or will all be consumed by the power of her will? Betrayal, corruption, tragedy, despair, and hidden desires all swirl together like an evil witch¡¦s brew culminating to present the reader with a heady tale of passion and of death and their inexorable link.
As is the norm with Garton novels, the heroes and heroines whilst likable and sympathetic prove rather fallible in that their own carnal desires leads them and those they love to the pinnacle of unexpected despair shrouding the novel with a dismal yet enticing aura. Each character, through Garton's melodious yet gothic style, was fully elaborated upon revealing both their triumphs and disasters through vivid prose creating realistic characters that captured the imagination and the heart.
The horror and tragedy weaves itself around the characters degeneration from a happy family to an obsessed collection of individuals with little love or regard for one another, only a deep desire for their next encounter with their captor, Lorelle. As the tale progresses forward, the haunting aura of something being amiss, the certainty of dark days ahead, and the growing realization that Lorelle is not what she seems begins to eclipse the story creating a palpable dark and brooding atmosphere allowing the tale to gain intensity and feeling as it progressed toward the dramatic conclusion.
The premise of a beautiful woman not quite being what she seems has been enacted and enhanced over time in numerous horror novels, therefore, enabling the reader to easily predict many of the situations and their conclusions depicted within The New Neighbor. Although this element of predictability did not enhance the tale, it did not greatly detract from the storyline either. It merely existed doing little harm and little good. It would have been preferable had the tale been less predictable but the story was so intriguing and the characters' actions so immensely entertaining and interesting that this undesirable element of expectedness was easily overlooked for the sake of the other perfected elements inherent within the tale.
The writing style chosen to convey the tale was both euphonious and suitably evocative bringing the brooding world of Garton¡¦s creation to life. The sorrow and suffering combined with the bleak descriptions combined not only to enact an interesting story, but to breathe into it a certain life that creates vivid pictures in the reader's mind.
Before concluding, it is necessary for the reader to understand a limited amount of history concerning this novel as there are two additions (both currently out-of-print but available on the used market) for sale. The original first addition was published by Charnel House as a limited edition novel for the price of $150. The second edition, of which this is a review, was published by Cemetery Dance for a more reasonable price. Both editions contain the same tale in the same wording. Most Ray Garton novels are signed, therefore, a signed addition is easily available for those willing to pay a heftier price.
For those seeking to enter upon a sojourn through the twisted world of Garton's imagination, traveling the winding pathways of deceit and despair to eventually encounter the dramatic and woebegone conclusion that will be sure to remain in the reader's mind for many a night, then this tale will never disappoint. Another classic from an interesting, albeit rare, author. Highly recommended.