{Book Review} The Cliff House: James Marx

Short Sharp Shocks! #53

The Cliff House: James Marx

Reviewed By Steve Stred

The third of five new Short! Sharp! Shocks! releases from Demain Publishing, ‘The Cliff House‘ was a book I went absolutely blind into. I don’t believe I’ve read anything prior by James Marx, so I must admit, I really had no idea what to expect.

What I liked:The Cliff House‘ picks up with an older man driving a car along the Greece/Turkey border, when he comes across a young man hitchhiking. He picks him up and they chat, before he invites the man to come stay at his place for a few days. He lets him know that he is offering the hospitality as a kind gesture, to let the hitchhiker relax, rest and get cleaned up. 

From there Marx infuses the story with a growing sense of dread. From page one, I knew something was going to happen, but what? I had many, many theories and as our hitchhiker begins to stay longer and leave for short periods of time, causing the older man to grow both angry and jealous, I found myself pinballing between how the ending would play out.

What I didn’t like: Frankly, the growing sense of dread became a frustration. For a short book, and knowing something is going to happen, when it does, it’s at the end and then the book is just over. There was so much ‘extra’ stuff going on, with the butler and the chef that I wanted to know more details, more of where they all came from that the ending happened and I felt my balloon deflate.

Why you should buy this: This was a very quick read, and while some of it was a miss for me, the setting is fantastic and the house itself was a nice feature. I personally wished more was shared, but for some of you, the dread that Marx infuses will be the exact reason you’ll devour this book.

Short Sharp Shocks! #53

The Cliff House: James Marx

A wealthy recluse hiding an unholy secret.

A young man hitch-hiking around the Mediterranean.

What begins as a chance encounter develops into a twisted infatuation that brings betrayal, a horrific discovery and death.

(cover by Adrian Baldwin)

You can buy The Cliff House from Amazon UK & Amazon US

Steve Stred

Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.

He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.

You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred

You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred

You can visit Steve’s Official website here

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