The Castle of Los Angeles

By Lisa Morton
Gray Friar Press
ISBN: 978-1-906331-15-3
2010; $14.00 Trade Paperback

From UK publisher Gary Fry and his Gray Friar Press comes Lisa Morton’s first novel, The Castle of Los Angeles. Lisa has been gaining ground with numerous anthology and magazine appearances – as well as winning a Bram Stoker award for her recent novella The Lucid Dreaming. Here she clocks in with a longer work.

The premise is somewhat simple. Beth Ortiz is a theatrical director who takes up residence in The Castle, a reputedly haunted old theater partially inhabited by a popular, but reclusive artist. The artist, Jessamine, is heavily into mysticism and develops a strange fixation on Beth. It is also evident very early on that the castle is in fact haunted and strange things start to occur.

Morton has been a bit up and down for me in her writing honestly. This is typical of writers working their way up the ranks. The Castle of Los Angeles is a decidedly more mature work though. The characterization is strong and Lisa keeps the chapters short and tight to keep the suspense going. In his introduction, Gary Braunbeck says that Lisa must have worked in the theater in the past, as her observations of this lifestyle are spot on. I would have to agree and I think this adds a depth and realism to the story. A strong first novel by a writer to watch.

– Reviewed by James R. Beach

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~ by darkdiscoveries on July 6, 2010.

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