Book Review: Velveteen by Danny Marks

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 12, 2012

VelveteenVelveteen Monroe’s life becomes a horror movie the day that Ron Simanski offers her a ride. She soon realizes that death will involve neither “rest” nor “ peace.” Velveteen has a full afterlife as leader of a team of soul collectors, but when events among the living threaten the existence of the City of Souls, it falls to Velvet’s team to avert the intersection—and destruction—of the realms of the living and the dead.

Even faithful horror fans recognize that the genre suffers from an acute case of Trope’s Disease. Time-tested elements within the horror formula (from zombies and serial killers to possessions and exorcisms) are recycled in the same incarnations until horror fans lose faith in the idea of a fresh take on a horror signature. Examining these conventions from a new angle without sacrificing legitimacy is a Sisyphean task, but Daniel Marks proves that he is pretty handy with a bolder. His delicate instinct for his chosen genre and ability to fuse the gothic and the grotesque with vibrant touches of humor solidifies his standing among the finest  creatives minds in horror.

Velveteen employs a twist on traditional horror staples that shakes seasoned horror fans out of our boxes, and makes familiar shadows dance in a new slant of light. As a ghost with the ability to possess human bodies, Velvet would be the unquestioned “monster” in any horror film. Her role as the narrator invites the audience to view the world through the “monster’s” eyes, but even that familiar approach is given new life. Velveteen and her team of soul salvagers don’t waste their afterlife bemoaning their fate (thank goodness). There is no self-flagellation for a form of existence that the living would label “unnatural.” They accept their situation, and even revel in their new forms, often with an amusing effect. I do not want to give anything away, but there is one incident involving a temporary possession, a banshee, and a reanimated corpse that had me cringing at one line and laughing out loud at the next.

The centerpiece in this feast of horror and humor is a surprising element of heart. Velveteen’s emotional core is a delicate, well-handled examination of Velvet’s most profound trauma. The details of her death are funneled through the character’s refusal to address her unattended wounds, resulting in a portrait of a murder from the victim’s point of view that is intriguing, sensitive, and emotionally resonant. I hope that horror addicts will find room in their hearts for the residents of Purgatory. Velveteen is that fresh glimpse of the familiar that modern horror fans have been searching for.

About the Author (Courtesy of Goodreads.com):

Daniel MaDanny Marksrks writes young adult horror and fantasy, spends way too much time glued to the internets and collects books obsessively (occasionally reading them). He’s been a psychotherapist for children and adolescents, a Halloween store manager, a cafeteria janitor (gag) and has survived earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons to get where he is today, which is to say, in his messy office surrounded by half empty coffee cups. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Caroline, and three furry monsters with no regard for quality carpeting.

Find Daniel (and Velveteen) Online:

Website | Twitter |Facebook |Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes and Noble

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3 responses to “Book Review: Velveteen by Danny Marks

  1. Pingback: Interview: Daniel Marks Talks Writing, Revenge and “Velveteen” | The Underground Treehouse·

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