“Alter” is my first read from Philip Fracassi. It is a wonderful slice of dark, cosmic horror. The terrific cover art is actually a little deceiving, but helps give the novelette more of an impact. I am a big fan of Lovecraftian influenced cosmic dread and “Alter” is a fine, fine example of the sort of quality work that is out there. I love how Fracassi turns a family trip to the swimming pool into something bleak and terrifying.
The story is told through Gary, as he, his older sister and mother embark on a trip to the pool for some fun in the sun. We find out about the mechanics of the family, mother Martha’s battle with the bottle after the breakup of her marriage, Gary’s love for his older sister Abbey and how this is a family held together by the thinnest of threads. Fracassi works wonders with the characterization here. It is such a short book, but you feel deeply about these people and this is testament to some great writing. The setting of the local swimming pool is fantastic. You will wonder where the hell it is going, then, just when you think you have it all figured out…BOOM!, the skies darken and things take a dramatic turn for the worst.
One of the lines in this book was “when did it get so dark?” this is exactly what I was thinking as I read “Alter”
If you haven’t read anything by Philip Fracassi then you need to fix this. “Alter” is a perfect novelette featuring great characters, stunning imagery and a dread filled atmosphere. There are a few images that will remain engraved on my brain for some time to come. Pass me the mind bleach, please. Bravo Mr Fracassi, Bravo. Highly recommended.
You should be buying a copy of this fine book from here.