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Coldheart Canyon [Paperback]

Clive Barker
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Not Cold at All... April 28 2009
Meet Todd Pickett. He is a has-been actor at twenty-nine, used up by the very system which turned him overnight from an Ohio farm boy into a superstar. In an attempt to regain his lost beauty Pickett elects to have plastic surgery, never dreaming that this decision would risk his life, and his soul. The procedure goes horribly, grotesquely wrong. Hiding from his fans, and from the press he knows will tear his reputation apart if they find out about his operation, Todd takes refuge where he thinks no one will find him.

He's wrong. His retreat from the glare of publicity takes him to a place that no map of Hollywood has ever described: Coldheart Canyon. Here, nursing his wounds and his desperation, he discovers what the history of the Dream Factory has long concealed: a world somewhere between life and death, reality and illusion, where the great legends of a forgotten Hollywood are waiting to educate him in the bitter business of life after fame.

Somehow, sooner or later, everyone from Tammy, the overweight, obsessive, good president of Todd's fan club, to Micky, a dying former child star with a life full of secrets, ends up in Coldheart Canyon, finding out things they never wanted to know about sex, madness, courage and generosity.

Set in Hollywood, Coldheart Canyon is a portrayal of a city that has a darker underbelly than we usually see. Told with a deft hand and a witty mind, we see Tinsel Town as it really is: that glamorous half-world in which beauty, power and youth are wealth; all can be stripped away in a heartbeat, and nothing is what it seems, even Death itself.

I was held spellbound as Barker spun his tale, weaving story and background seamlessly. Coldheart Canyon is a large book, close to 800 pages in hardcover.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Tammy Lauper rocks! July 16 2004
By Lara F
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When famous actor Todd Pickett goes missing after blotched plastic surgery, his most fanatical fan, a fat housewife named Tammy Lauper, decides to try to find
her missing heartthrob. She tracks him to Coldheart Canyon, a great mansion haunted by old Hollywood stars and controlled by Katya Lupi, a silent screen star whose youthful ethereal beauty is still strangely preserved despite decades of hard living, and who will do anything to keep Todd by her side.

What worked for me:

Tammy rocks! She starts off as a stereotypical character, a fat housewife obsessed with a famous actor; but she turns out to be a tough, sweet-natured and intelligent woman.
Size-wise, although her weight isn't mentioned, I expected she's a rather big girl.

What didn't work for me:

Not enough Tammy in this book, and she should have been given a love interest.


I highly recommend this suspense-filled horror novel. Tammy Lauper is a great heroine; do not judge her right away. She becomes a wonderfully well-defined character as the story progresses.

Warning: There are mentions of the occult in this book, as well as some very violent and sexual scenes, including rape and bestiality.

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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Clive Barker is a writer who never takes the subtle way out. It's a cliche that sometimes the scariest things are those things which are only hinted it or suggested (shower scene in PSYCHO is often trotted out as an example). Barker seems to believe that he can induce fear by pounding us with graphic details...not for the faint of heart. And he's such an adept writer, that he often succeeds, mostly because his imagination dares to go where no one has gone before.
COLDHEART CANYON deals with the movie business. A '20s era silent-movie siren has a room installed in her house made entirely of tile taken from a monestery in Romania. This tile, some 30,000 pieces, may actually have been built by Lilith, the wife of Satan, and it seems to have...shall we say...remarkable qualities. The '20s era movie star and all her friends and fellow stars are transfixed and transformed by the power of this room, known as "The Devil's Country." Nothing subtle here. Then we skip forward to present day Hollywood, where star Todd Pickett makes the mistake of getting plastic surgery and suffers severe damage. He takes refuge from the press at the long abandoned "pleasure palace" of the '20s era star, Katya, that he has never heard of. No one seems to live in the house, but we soon find out otherwise.
I've only scratched the surface of this wildy imaginative, almost bloated, novel. It's grand to read a book that takes on, with great humor, the foibles of the movie industry, and turns that satire into a horror novel of massive proportions. The house has one mystery after another, and the fates of the people who cross paths with the house, its grounds, its "residents" and especially The Devil's Country are drawn out in exquisite detail.
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3.0 out of 5 stars One Streeetched Novel Sept. 27 2003
By Jeremy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Clive is still Clive, and he entranced me in COLDHEART CANYON with his rainbow prose and deft touches. This is my fourth Clive Barker book, and sadly, it couldn't compare to The Damnation Game, Weaveworld or volume one of Books of Blood.
Take it's length for example. Over 750 pages, it could have been easily squashed to 500, or maybe 400 pages. I flipped pages in slight frustration at the seemingly endless subplots that seem to pop up in the book. Some scenes could have been compacted, as I felt my attention dropping when I read them, no matter how gruesome or frightening the image was.
Todd Pickett is classic Barker characterization, and so is Tammy. Both are full characters, and that somewhat saved the novel. Katya Lupi appeared slightly empty to me, and her moods seemed to gravitate haphazardly.
I found Barker's version of Hollywood pleasantly different from what I had expected. I was expecting an entire chapter of the general Hollywood cliches, but Barker knew well enough to cut to the chase and get on with the plot.
Overall, a commendable effort. But too long, too dragged and perhaps a little too spiced.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not his best, but a great read...
From evidence in the author's introduction, I do wonder if this book was more difficult to produce than his others. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2003 by Auliya
5.0 out of 5 stars an insider's masterful touch...
okay, i just slagged off heavily about "abarat" so i feel obliged to balance the scales by saying coldheart canyon is the only book i can remember literally not being able to put... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2003 by miller stevens
1.0 out of 5 stars GLORIFIED PORN
A waste of everybody's time and energy, Barker's talent. I am open-minded, and I hung in there. Whichever characters survive this nightmare, I simply don't care anymore. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I was a little intimidated by the length of this book but I read it all in one night. It was remarkable and this is the Clive that I love dearly. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by DJ_Bitter
3.0 out of 5 stars Who the HELL edited this book?????
A full one-third of this book could have been edited out without effecting the story one bit. Wordy? YES !!!! Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by Soundman
4.0 out of 5 stars Barker Crosses Over
When asked by a more devoted Clive Barker fan what I thought of "Coldheart Canyon," I told him I couldn't put it down, but quickly added the disclaimer that he probably would not... Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2003 by John Ashley Nail
4.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing at times, empty at others
Coldheart Canyon is an interesting book. I will give it four stars, because it is closer to four than to three, but it deserves little more than 3 and a half. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by greatkingrat
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not Clive�s best, but could have been much worse
Todd Pickett, one of the hottest movie stars of the last decade, faces the downfall of his career when extensive plastic surgery goes terribly wrong. Read more
Published on July 21 2003 by Geert Daelemans
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Barker at his best, but worth reading.
I wish I could say that I liked "Coldheart Canyon" more than I actually did. Clive Barker is one of my favorite writers (and artists), and his more recent book... Read more
Published on June 7 2003 by Rich Stoehr
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