cover image Crucifax Autumn

Crucifax Autumn

Ray Garton. Dark Harvest, $38 (326pp) ISBN 978-0-913165-29-4

Take a group of teenagers, mix with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, add blood, death and a storyline out of the Pied Piper by way of Dracula, and shakeviolently. Voila, Crucifax Autumn, the second book by the author of Live Girls, a vampire novel. Though not very well written, the book succeeds because of Garton's enthusiasm and his sure sense of adolescent weltschmerz. The horror story concerns charismatic but sinister Mace, who shows up in the San Fernando Valley one day, intent on luring youngsters to his decadent lifestyle and, ultimately, into mass suicide. Mace is not exactly human: he possesses a tongue that extends several feet (with which he does disgusting things), and he is always accompanied by a coterie of ratlike ``pets.'' He is opposed by a bad boy (who turns good), a good boy (who almost turns bad) and a dedicated social worker, none of whom manage to stop him though they all at least survive. In Garton's view, Mace represents the misery, disaffection and rage that children feel when their parents abuse them, actively or passively. (June)