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5.0 out of 5 stars literate horror
Not living in the US and having access to public libraries, I have been unfortunately unaware of Tom Piccirilli until I ordered Hexes on a whim. And was very pleasantly surprised. Immediately, his writing reminded me of Ramsey Campbell, and I turned to the back to see if the author was American or British. I associated the writing with Campbell for a very specific...
Published on Nov. 3 1999 by Christine Menendez

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Better the Devil...............
Firstly, I like many other reviewers of this book, picked it up as I was convinced by the glowing reviews by critics and the public alike. Also, as understood from readers comments, many like myself are fans of the horror genre and thought it sounded like a fresh angle on an old familiar formula. Secondly let me explain why the King's and Rice's of this world are...
Published on Feb. 10 2001


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1.0 out of 5 stars characterization is weak, Sept. 18 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is dreadful, and not in a good way. I read it with high expectations, having enjoyed his short story "Voice C" in Cemetery Dance. The short story works, but in a novel, unlike a short story, you need to flesh out the characters. Tom can't seem to do this. His female characters, espcially, show about as much depth as a soap opera housewife. They smile a lot, then frown, then they smile some more. Also, the dialog stinks. I just think that if people talked the way they talk in Hexes, I would shoot myself out of sheer annoyance.

Going along with the simple-minded characters is a simple-minded plot. Mostly it's just this farcical build-up towards a awful climax. He might as well have written in all caps at the begining of each chapter, "THE CLIMAX IS AT THE PARTY!" I think he wanted it to be shocking. Instead it's dumb and as annoying as getting a parking ticket. It is truly the most unbelievable party setting ever. All it was missing was maybe a pharoh and the wolfman.
AVOID AVOID AVOID!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different but not completely satisfying, Sept. 20 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
This isn't your run-of-the mill horror novel; it doesn't employ a simple plot or try merely to unnerve you with atrocious acts and agents. There is gore to be found in Hexes, to be sure, but it almost came as a surprise to me each time. As I read the tale, I found myself enveloped in a murky, fog-enshrouded atmosphere, moving back and forth across time viewing events and people I struggled to understand and come to terms with. If you do not commit yourself to reading the entire book, you may bow out early because it does not really reach out and grab you. Matthew Galen comes back home when he learns his old friend A.G. is suspected of murder and is being detained at the mental institution that Galen's own father once oversaw. As Galen and A.G. converse (telepathically), we begin to get bits and pieces of the history of the town. Increasing references to the seemingly living scars on Galen's chest and to "the Goat" offer murky clues as to the diabolical forces at work here. As Galen seeks out the evil in his home town, the author serves up a series of flashbacks to Galen's strange history--what happened to his friends, how he learned the arcane arts (hexes, sigils, etc.) he uses to protect himself, and just what the Goat really represents. It is not until the conclusion that we find out the biggest pieces of the puzzle, and even then I never felt comfortably sure of my knowledge of the whole business. While the ending does offer up one important surprise, I found it somewhat disappointing and, in one particular detail, a little too convenient.
I think the complexity of the novel, in addition to the author's decision to withhold the most crucial bits of information until the very end, is a weakness of sorts. It is hard to immerse yourself in, and it becomes rather confusing at points. For those with little knowledge of this type of horror, hinging on arcane magic, ancient grimoires, and demonic manifestations, the book may prove daunting. For those with a passion for horror, you will find that the story is not at all Lovecraftian, despite the similarities in theme, so you can be assured that the plot and finale will not reveal themselves to you through the seemingly familiar signs you will meet upon different occasions. Piccirilli definitely has his own style, and different readers will react to it differently. I enjoyed his writing, but I never found myself swept away by it. This is the kind of horror fiction that tries to lull you to sleep and then suddenly lurch upon you when you least expect it--the atrocities witnessed by the reader are described deftly, even poetically, but every last detail is included for the reader's repulsion and/or glee. I just can't help but feel that the author held back a little at the end, that he decided not to tell me something important that would help me truly understand the book. By and large, though, Piccirilli is a talented, refreshingly unique type of horror writer, and that makes him a rare commodity in the horror field.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Better the Devil..............., Feb. 10 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
Firstly, I like many other reviewers of this book, picked it up as I was convinced by the glowing reviews by critics and the public alike. Also, as understood from readers comments, many like myself are fans of the horror genre and thought it sounded like a fresh angle on an old familiar formula. Secondly let me explain why the King's and Rice's of this world are familiar house hold names and Piccirilli is not. Hexes for the most part has enough narrative power to guide you to the anticlimatic finale. However once at the end, a time when you recap over the book, you realise that not a great deal happened in terms of plot and the character development was non existent. His writing is not bad but can leave you confused at times as he has a habit of adding random sentences or comments (Debbie is dead) leaving you going, 'eh?'...'errrm what'....'rrrrrrigght???' etc throughout the tale. There are a couple scenes of gibbering horror that will knock the breath out of some readers but I refuse in my experience of this kind of writing to let this be an accalaid; I think any body with half an imagination can do that or if not just watch the news every day!! I am glad I read it in a way as I will now stick to what I know is good horror writing and leave this kind of 'try hard horror' to the small time critics/2nd rate horror writers who have peppered it with overblown praise in an attempt to get this failed colleage of thiers off the ground.
.....You Know!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Better the Devil..............., Feb. 10 2001
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
Firstly, I like many other reviewers of this book, picked it up as I was convinced by the glowing reviews by critics and the public alike. Also, as understood from readers comments, many like myself are fans of the horror genre and thought it sounded like a fresh angle on an old familiar formula. Secondly let me explain why the King's and Rice's of this world are familiar house hold names and Piccirilli is not. Hexes for the most part has enough narrative power to guide you to the anticlimatic finale. However once at the end, a time when you recap over the book, you realise that not a great deal happened in terms of plot and the character development was non existent. His writing is not bad but can leave you confused at times as he has a habit of adding random sentences or comments (Debbie is dead) leaving you going, 'eh?'...'errrm what'....'rrrrrrigght???' etc throughout the tale. There are a couple scenes of gibbering horror that will knock the breath out of some readers but I refuse in my experience of this kind of writing to let this be an accalaid; I think any body with half an imagination can do that or if not just watch the news every day!! I am glad I read it in a way as I will now stick to what I know is good horror writing and leave this kind of 'try hard horror' to the small time critics/2nd rate horror writers who have peppered it with overblown praise in an attempt to get this failed colleage of thiers off the ground.
.....You Know!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Hexes, literally gave me a headache...., Aug. 23 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
If you enjoy an 'alleged' horror story, stocked with flowery words, lacking intriguing plot,unbelieveable, boring characters, and mix-matched ideas of the occult, in which the author threw in his story, (comparable to an apple and broccoli dish,) this is THE book for you... A waste of time and expense...I've read numerous horror stories, most kept my interest, scared the living daylights out of me, but I have to give the author credit for one thing: his writing style gave me a migraine. If I had to write a report on Hexes I'd have a blank sheet staring me in the face...Horror? Where, what did I miss? There wasn't one paragraph throughout the entire 359 pages that chilled my bones, or even a miniscule goosebump. And to compare Piccirilli's style to King's is absurd. King's words flows, Piccirillis's blows. THE ENDING: What happened? What was his point? Where was he heading? Hello! And where do the 'Praises' from various newspaper reviews come from. Did he pay them? Are they friends of his, drinking buddies, old classmates? What more can I say? So, to those who enjoy a thrilling horror and must purchase the book, contact your doctor, ask for a prescription for the strongest pain-killer, preferably something with codeine, and read on.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Substandard Horror with Occult Edge, Aug. 5 2000
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm surprised at the enthusiasm this book is generating. I didn't find it to be anything special. The plot was needlessly convoluted, the characters were - aside from Matthew Galen and Gusto - poorly drawn, and there was nothing scary about it. The climax seemed thrown together and out of character with the rest of the book. I didn't believe the outcome of the final battle. It was weak. Two-thirds of the characters seemed to be thrown in just so the author could attach names to the victims in the climax. Basically, the plot is that Matthew Galen returns to his hometown where his best friend has been imprisoned in Panecraft (get it?), the asylum that Galen's father built and his mother died in. His best friend is the prime suspect in whole bunch of missing children cases. But did his friend do it or is there some greater evil lurking about the town? Galen's the right man to find out. Why? Because as a teenager he got involved with the occult and became quite powerful. So what made him successful at it when a million heavy metal kids who dabbled in Crowley and other Occult stuff throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's weren't? Read the book, see if you find the answer. See if you buy the answer. I didn't. Even the two scenes other reviewers are throwing their accolades at were dull. Neither the train station or the house scene was anything special. Not that the book was all bad. To me, the creepiest part of the book were finding out about the chess players in the boarding house. For some reason I also liked Disgusto the dog. I hoped it would survive. Otherwise I didn't care about one single character.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A total waste of time, May 9 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
The glowing reviews of "Hexes" are either written by the author himself, or by those who have not had the pleasure of reading a truly engrossing story. When reading about the occult, one expects a wild ride of thrills, fright, evil, and the macabre. None of these attributes are found within the pages of "Hexes."
"Hexes" is just one long cliché after another. The development of the plot and characters are virtually non-existent. The author fails miserably to grab the readers interest. No intrigue, no suspense. So predictable is the story line that it's just pathetic to read.
I was never "shocked" or "frightened" by the "unspeakable crimes" alleged to be found between the covers of "Hexes." When reading "Hexes" you get that familiar feeling of having "seen" this somewhere before, then you remember those "B" movies shown after midnight on your local TV station. I do believe this might be the place where the author got his inspiration for this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars literate horror, Nov. 3 1999
By 
Christine Menendez (St. Andreu de Llavaneres, Barcelona Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
Not living in the US and having access to public libraries, I have been unfortunately unaware of Tom Piccirilli until I ordered Hexes on a whim. And was very pleasantly surprised. Immediately, his writing reminded me of Ramsey Campbell, and I turned to the back to see if the author was American or British. I associated the writing with Campbell for a very specific reason: in this book, the author does not assume that the reader is an idiot, he does not do all of the work for the reader, but lets the latter fill in the blank spaces for himself, spacing his story out in hints and suggestions. I do not find this book excessively horrific, nothing is spelled out in descriptive hyperbole,but I do find it extremely interesting and provocative, in the manner of Black Easter. I think Tom Piccirili is a very fine writer, a great and needed addition to the genre that has included such greats as Poe and MacHen and Lovecraft, and yet still has not gained the respect of the public at large. His characters are believable and well defined, his story is innovative and captivating, and his prose is very literate and well paced.And, gosh, there is actually a moral imperative. I have every intention of buying all of his books.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I'll never get those hours back., July 13 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
If it wasn't for the glowing reviews others have heaped upon this book, I wouldn't have gotten past the first 50 pages. The characters, plot, and molasses-slow pace did not capture me at all, and the writing, while poetic to some, struck me as merely pretentious and turgid. _Hexes_ reminded me strongly of Anne Rice's Vampire books, which for me is not positive; consequently, it's taken me three times as long to read this as it's taken me to read books of similar size. Some books you can't put down, but this one, I hard a hard time picking back up.
Lying-back-cover-blurb alert: The "unspeakable crimes" are absolutely UNshocking, not even deserving of an "ew" let alone surprise, disgust, or terror. As a matter of fact, nothing in here frightened me in the slighest.
Verdict: If you are a fan of the occult, or enjoy heavily atmospheric, dramatic writing, you may enjoy this book. If you prefer more ACTION and dialogue, and less flowery language, don't bother with _Hexes_.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better occult novels in recent times, July 18 1999
This review is from: Hexes (Mass Market Paperback)
Tom Piccirilli has written an occult novel that is more focused on characters and story than the "special effects" of the magic and spells. Where some authors will go through great lengths to explain the workings behind the characters' magic, Piccirilli gives the reader enough to know what is going on and, when appropriate, for the reader to grasp the importance of it. The result is that the spells and such are almost second-nature to the characters, which is appropriate given their backgrounds.
Further, Piccirilli's narrative is very sleek and vivid, and immediately engaging to the reader. His characters, even supporting cast, are fleshed-out and very unique.
The initial plot development is a bit slow, but the payoff is well worth it in the end. The ending (even given the supernatural plotline) is realistic and satisfying without becoming predictable.
Highly recommended.
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