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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Ceiling Man is a contemporary horror novel written by Patricia Lillie. Abby and her parents, Carole and Jim, lived fairly normal lives, that is, if being a young adult with autism can ever be considered fairly normal. Port Massassauga, Ontario, was not quite a city, more of a large town, and it was a nice place to grow up in. Jim was a police officer, and Carole worked at the Senior Center. Abby enjoyed going to school, taking the bus, spending time with her friends, fellow students, Devon and Twyla. As she grew up, Jim and Carole learned how to read Abby's moods, moves and the changes that presaged a meltdown. So, they were concerned to hear from the school that Abby seemed to have entered a dark phase, speaking of gory scenes and red ceilings. Ms. Colley wondered if Abby was watching horror movies that were bleeding into her world view, but Carole and Jim were very careful about what Abby saw or read. There was something else afoot in Port Massassauga; something evil disguised as an unpleasant, but relatively harmless homeless man named Blevins, who somehow wasn't himself anymore. He had become something far worse.
Patricia Lillie's contemporary horror novel, The Ceiling Man, introduces a chilling new form of evil and the gallant hero who must marshal every single bit of strength and courage to defy it. This harrowing and intense psychological thriller features a seventeen-year-old girl, who is in the autism spectrum, and her parents, and the author's insights into autism and the world inhabited by autistic people shine through on every page of this inspiring and scary read. Lillie's work is powerful, intense and mindbogglingly good. Her characters are real and believable, and her plot channels the darkness of a truly virulent thunderstorm, complete with a tornado or two tossed in, as evil vies for dominance over innocence amidst a bright blue sky and late afternoon winter sun.
I was amazed to find that this is Lillie’s debut novel. The Ceiling Man boasts the gravitas and literary presence that one would expect from the likes of Stephen King and Clive Barker. While many have been conditioned to expect little more than blood, guts and gore from the horror genre, this novel delivers an unforgettable reading experience. The Ceiling Man is easily the best horror story I've read in a long time; and it’s definitely the most perceptive novel dealing with autism that I’ve come across. It's most highly recommended.