Nominated for the Bram Stoker Award™ for Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Praise for The Lamplighters:
“The Skin Mechanic is one of the darkest characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about…(Frazer Lee) not only takes you to the edge, but he shoves you into the darkest depths of true human vanity.” (S. Siferd, Night Owl Reviews. Reviewer’s Top Pick)
”The Skin Mechanic is destined to become one of the great monsters of modern horror” (Dave Brzeski, British Fantasy Society)
“Stoker Award nominee for Best First Novel, The Lamplighters is a disturbing book. I mean REALLY disturbing. Unsettling and ultimately a shock to the system, but I loved it! Check this book out and hope that Lee is only beginning a promising horror fiction career.”
( thebellefromhell, Dreadcentral.com)
“THE LAMPLIGHTERS marks the emergence of Frazer Lee as an elite voice in the genre. Think the mystery of ‘Lost’ mixed with the bizarre beauty of Dario Argento and you might just be close to THE LAMPLIGHTERS.” (Pat Dreadful, Dreadful Tales)
“Frazer Lee is an author to watch. His is a remarkable first novel, and I urge you to pick this one up. I, for one, can’t wait for his second.” (Carson Buckingham, Shroud Magazine Book Reviews)
“If you think The Lamplighters starts well (and it does — very) wait until you see how it ends. Frazer Lee expertly builds up the tension, taking the reader on a hell of journey to a horrifying climax. The Skin Mechanic awaits. He will give you nightmares. Accept this as a fair price to pay for the pleasure of reading The Lamplighters.” (Julie Morrigan, author of ‘Convictions’ and ‘Heartbreaker’)
“Frazer Lee has created a truly chilling creation that will walk your nightmares for weeks to come… This tale of isolated terror on an island deserved to be part of a line up that (includes) such genre giants as Ramsey Campbell and Greg Gifune” (Top Ten Discoveries of 2011 – Jim Mcleod, Ginger Nuts of Horror)
“The Lamplighters is the real deal and Frazer Lee a new talent to keep a close eye on.” ( Hunter Shea, author of ‘Forest of Shadows’)
“Lee’s horror/mystery hybrid reimagines the Irish myth of Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth. Readers will want to uncover the island’s dark secrets…” (Publishers Weekly)
“Lamplighters reads like a movie. Scratch that, a nasty-ass motherfucker of a horror movie.” (Christopher Fowler, author of ‘Psychoville’, ‘Spanky’ and ‘Hell Train’)
“In The Lamplighters, Frazer Lee has written a tale of horror that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.”
( Russell R. James, author of ‘Dark Inspiration’)
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Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief.
Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world – as a ‘Lamplighter’ working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay.
Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
Copyright © 2011 Frazer Lee
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
“It’s the greatest job in the world.”
Vera smiled as she said the words.
“All I have to do is turn on the damn lights, water the plants; a few chores…”
Static crackled in her ear — the phone line was lousy tonight.
“Are you still there?”
“Yes,” came the reply, “but I can hardly hear you. There’s a weird kind of… echo.”
“It’s Jessie’s uplink,” Vera chuckled, “We’re not really allowed to call anyone from the island…”
“Sorry… how… calling me?”
Christ, the line was getting choppy. Vera pressed the cordless handset closer to her ear, then checked herself.
“As if that’ll make any difference,” she said. Probably talking to herself now.
The crackling grew louder. She could still hear her friend’s voice, buried beneath layers of digital cacophony. A faint echo smothered by an avalanche of noise.
There was something else in the mix too; an ominous growling hum like the electricity pylons near her home. Berlin, so far away now. Even as she thought it, the hum grew; drowning out what little was left of her friend’s staccato tones.
And with a click, silence.
“Scheiße,” she cursed, stabbing the redial button. The phone was completely dead. Hacking an outside line was a fine art, she appreciated that, but Jessie clearly needed some new software. And she’d be giving that little bag of smoke back too.
First things first. Vera put the handset in its cradle and headed for the kitchen. She walked over to the huge range in the centre of the room and ignited all four of the gas taps. Then, crouching on her haunches, she turned the oven on full blast. The expensive smoked glass oven door afforded her a look at her own reflection. Only a month on Meditrine Island and already she looked five years younger. Amazing. Gone were the dark grey shadows around her eyes – even her signature brittle dry hair had a new luster. Berlin could take care of itself, thanks very much. The island really was like a fountain of youth, she thought as she rose and crossed to the patio door.
Unclipping the latch, Vera had to use two hands to slide the glass behemoth open. Whoever owned this house had a serious heavy glass fetish. Stepping out into the night, her senses were flooded. The island’s fresh air was like no other; an intoxicating blend of jasmine and ocean spray. When she went back to the city, she’d have to remember to bottle and sell it.
Her quiet moment was suddenly blasted with fifteen hundred watts of raw security lighting as she stepped in front of the infrared sensors. She cursed the light for blinding her as she picked up the watering can, blinking away the white-hot glare. The light had brought the mosquitoes a-calling too. They whizzed around her as she dashed back into the kitchen.
Vera filled the watering can with cool, clear water at the bath-sized sink. This was the least tedious of her tasks – the plants were going to drink their fill tonight. Amidst such fabulous wealth, such meticulous order, it felt good that a mere backpacker could decide the fate of items so precious to their millionaire owners.
Millionaires? Billionaires, more likely.
She remembered Jessie’s sardonic voice from the first time they’d hung out together, gossiping about who owned these mansions; this island. But Vera didn’t really care who the owners were. That they were paying her handsomely to do a few chores was all she cared about. And the most strenuous chore was watering the plants. Easy money. “The job’s a doozy,” Jessie had giggled. ‘Doozy Jessie’ been working on the island longer than Vera and seemed to be going a little stir crazy…
As the water rose closer to the brim of the watering can, the security lights clicked off suddenly. Like everything else on the island they ran to a tight schedule, thought Vera. As she did so, milliseconds before the light bulbs faded, Vera saw something outside.
She blinked twice, slow and firm. The ghost imprint of the blinding bulbs still there, forming crescent shaped black holes in her mind’s eye. Was there someone out there?
Vera blinked again, then swore furiously as liquid spilled onto her feet. Soaked, she closed the faucet and let the watering can rest in the sink unit. Shouldn’t have smoked that joint before coming up to the house, she thought, sounding for all the world like her mother. Scatterbrain, she used to call Vera whenever she lost the power to function normally; everyday tasks becoming impossibly hilarious missions. She still wondered if her mother had known her daughter was stoned, or if she simply believed her child was missing a neuron or two million.
The old clumsiness was really kicking in now, as she left little pools of water on the tiled floor on her way to the patio. Putting the can down (yet more spills) she grabbed the door handle and pulled with all her might.
The glass giant slid open easier this time. Vera bent down to pick up the can — then the smell hit her.
Something had invaded the envelope of jasmine and surf, corrupting the very night air with its presence. A hospital smell, harsh and synthetic, like the way her dentist smelled. She’d hated the dentist since she was a kid. Had he followed her here, to paradise, tracking her down after all these years to do all that work she had chickened out of? To tut and frown disapprovingly through his paper mask, noting her cannabis-stained enamel and ugly overbite?
She leaned out into the night air, her nostrils searching for the source of the stifling smell. It was mixed with something else now, like ripe leather.
He was standing right next to her, impossibly close. Vera’s heart blasted into her mouth, choking her scream. The source of the smell regarded her idly, his black eyes like camera lenses. Cold. Unforgiving.
Before she could react, Vera heard a swooshing sound. The smell of rubber gloves perversely filled her nostrils, pushing all the way back into her throat as if someone really had jammed two fingers up her nose. The intruder’s dark form was a monolith, burned into her eyes by the security lights.
The bulbs faded once more. Vera’s senses imploded as the sliding door crushed her skull against the alloy doorframe.
Swoosh, as the door slid back again.
Vera’s body jerked uselessly then fell still; her brains spattered across the cool, thick glass.
Read more in ‘The Lamplighters’ by Frazer Lee, out now: