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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers
By Caitlín R. Kiernan
Hardcover/ $20/ 85 pages
Subterranean Press
ISBN: 1-931081-48-4

cover Caitlín R. Kiernan's In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers is a wickedly delicious novella that tells us a bit more about Darcy Flammarion. Darcy, an albino orphan whose angels tell her what monsters to kill, was a pivotal character in the author's second novel THRESHOLD (2001). In Garden's 85 pages you'll also meet The Bailiff -- a mysterious gentleman who travels with two vampires -- and Miss Aramat Drawdes, the unspoken matriarch of the Stephens Ward Tea League and Society of Resurrectionists. Miss Aramat and her ladies are an elegant and decadent sisterhood of ghouls who live in a grand mansion in Savannah, Georgia to whom The Bailiff delivers Darcy for his own arcane reasons. The tale constantly teases the reader with hints of some vast story of unspeakable but alluring nastiness and Lovecraftian scope that, sadly, we'll never have a chance to read because it probably will never exist. Dripping with atmosphere and set-décor detail, Garden is more dream-impression than narrative-complete and is not Kiernan's most outstanding literary undertaking. Still, it's definitely dark gothy fun-if it were a film it would be closer to a Hammer movie than serious cinema-but there's nothing negative in that. Unfortunately, although a few of the black-and-white interior illustrations by Dame Darcy are apt, for the most part they actually take away from the story. The color dustjacket defies explanation with both mansion and its "poisonous flowers" misrepresented. -- Paula Guran (Orginally appeared in CEMETERY DANCE #40)

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.