"Puppet Graveyard" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Delirium Books
Written by Tim Curran
2012, 212 pages, Fiction
Released on August 21st, 2012
When it comes to things that are supposed to entertain, if there's one thing creepier — or at least as creepy — than clowns, it's a puppet. Like a face-painted monster, there is nothing joyful about these little creatures made of wood and moving parts. A mere glance at some of the monstrosities found on this page should be enough to convince you that dummies, like the Wu-Tang Clan, are nothing to fuck with. So why does Kitty Seevers, the main character in Tim Curran's Puppet Graveyard, insist on bothering Ronny McBane and his dummy Piggy? Because her sister Gloria disappeared and all roads lead to those two? Sometimes, Kitty, you have to cut your losses and let things go.
See, Gloria was the assistant in McBane and Piggy's act. Then she went missing. Kitty hired a private dick, did some hunting around on her own, and finally found her suspect in McBane. But she notices strange things about Piggy, like the fact he is able to talk and move even when his handler is across the room. This isn't natural. Not by a long shot. It isn't long until Kitty finds out there's a lot more than meets the eye to Piggy, and unfortunately for her, he's got his own beady globes on her too. Oh the fun he's going to have.
Puppet Graveyard is an incredibly rich story packed in a limited novella format. Curran seamlessly blends mystery and horror, equally excelling at both genres. Part of the book is spent drawing out the sordid history of McBane and his family, while the rest of the time is spent exploring the damage Piggy has done to those who have put their noses in where they don't belong, all of which culminates with Kitty fighting for her life in a literal house of horrors.
Puppet Graveyard is one of those books that grabs you from page one, refusing to let you go until you finish the piece all the while daring you to cry about it. You won't, though, because you might upset Piggy. I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down because of the need to know not what happened to Gloria, but rather what happened to McBane and how Piggy came into his life.
If there's one problem with the Puppet Graveyard, it would be the length. It's entirely too short. On occasion, I find this to be a problem with some novellas that have stories too big for the format and this is one of those times. I wish McBane's family history was more developed because it's a fascinating one and the ending, while terrifying in its own right, felt a bit rushed. I would eat this up as a full blown novel.
Regardless, this gets a strong recommendation because the fact that it left me wanting more speaks for itself. This is number 39 of the Delirium Novella Series and as of this writing the limited edition hardcover is still available. After that it becomes eBook only. So if you want that slick autographed copy, pick it up now because these always seem to sell out. Otherwise, you'll do well to pick up the electronic version. It costs less than a large specialty drink at a decent coffee shop and will give you much more enjoyment.