Garton, Ray 1962- (Joseph Locke)
Garton, Ray 1962- (Joseph Locke)
Born in 1962, in Reading, CA; married; wife's name Dawn.
Grand Master Award, World Horror Convention, 2006.
Seductions, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1984, published with an afterword by Richard Laymon, Subterranean (Burton, MI), 1999.
Darklings, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1985.
Invaders from Mars (novelization of screenplay) Pocket (New York, NY), 1986.
Live Girls, Pocket (New York, NY), 1987.
Crucifax Autumn, Dark Harvest (Arlington Heights, IL), 1988, abridged as Crucifax, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1988.
Warlock (novelization of screenplay), Avon (New York, NY), 1989.
Trade Secrets, Ziesing (Shingletown, CA), 1990.
Lot Lizards, Ziesing (Shingletown, CA), 1991.
The New Neighbor, Charnel House (Lynbrook, NY), 1991.
Dark Channel, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
1-900-Killer, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Biofire, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Shackled, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
Can't Hardly Wait, 1998.
Lights, Camera, Action!, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.
411, Cemetery Dance Publications (Forest Hill, MD), 1998.
The Folks, Cemetery Dance Publications (Forest Hill, MD), 2001.
Sex and Violence in Hollywood, Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2001.
Zombie Love (limited edition), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2003.
Scissors, Cemetery Dance Publications (Forest Hill, MD), 2004.
Night Life, Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2005.
Eye of the Gardner, Bloodletting Press (Havenhurst, CT), 2006.
The Loveliest Dead, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Folks 2, Cemetery Dance Publications (Forest Hill, MD), 2006.
NOVELS; AS JOSEPH LOCKE
The Nightmares on Elm Street, Parts 4 & 5 (novelizations of screenplays), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
Kill the Teacher's Pet, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Petrified, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Kiss of Death, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
Game Over, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
Vengeance, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Vampire Heart ("Blood and Lace" series), Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Deadly Relations ("Blood and Lace" series), Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Good Burger (novelization; based on the screenplay by Dan Schneider, Kevin Kopelow, and Heath Seifert), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Troll Bride, photographs by Don Cadette, Simon Spotlight (New York, NY), 1998.
Ben There, Done That: Sabrina the Teenage Witch #6, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Methods of Madness (short stories and novella), Dark Harvest (Arlington Heights, IL), 1990, novella also published in Cafe Purgatorium, Tor (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Ed Warren, Lorraine Warren, and Carmen Snedeker) In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, Villard (New York, NY), 1992.
Pieces of Hate (short stories), CD Publications (Baltimore, MD), 1995.
Contributor of movie reviews to Really Scary Web site.
According to a St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers contributor, horror writer Ray Garton's original works show that he "is a reliable source of high-quality horror fiction." The contributor also noted: "Garton has effectively had three separate careers as a horror writer, one as a novelizer of motion pictures, one as the author of several highly regarded original horror novels, and another as ‘Joseph Locke,’ the byline for several noticeably above-average young-adult horror novels."
Noting that the author's horror novels "never talk down to his audience … nor do they incorporate the blatantly bad plotting and background development that is so common with lesser writers," the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers contributor also wrote: "He also manages to incorporate more overt violence than usual, although never gratuitously." Of Garton's novelizations of screenplays, the contributor noted: "Garton's treatment of Warlock is … a faithful rendition of the film about a sorcerer who is recreated in the twentieth century with all of his powers intact. The same is true of The Nightmares on Elm Street. The St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers contributor added: "Although Garton does a workman-like job with both of these, it is only with Invaders from Mars, the Tobe Hooper remake about Martians secretly kidnapping and reprogramming humans from their underground base, that he appears to have added something of his own. Garton's adaptation manages to blend the paranoia of the basic concept with some of the zaniness of Hooper's treatment."
"Seductions is, as its title might suggest, a highly erotic horror novel," wrote the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers contributor of Garton's first book. Garton's second novel, according to the same writer, is "filled with gruesome deeds and a really nasty monster." Summarizing a later work by Garton, the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers contributor noted: "There's a great deal of overt sexuality [in Live Girls], as is common in vampire stories, and Garton takes advantage of the psychological links between sex and death to underscore his theme." Ken Tucker identified Garton's Live Girls in his 1991 New York Times Book Review article "The Splatterpunk Trend, and Welcome to It," a report on "the rise of so-called splatterpunk fiction." Tucker also noted that this "fiction trades in the scariness of the seen, the notion that a reader will be frightened—and entertained?—by the explicit depiction of horrific acts, including murder and every sort of mutilation of the body." After stating that "Live Girls is far more artful than most splatterpunk writing," Tucker acknowledged Garton's thoughts on his work and the splatterpunk genre: "Garton … objects to the splatterpunk label. ‘I welcomed the inclusion at first,’ he explained, ‘but then took a few steps back and thought about it a little. I began to think that a lot of writers—myself included—were throwing in a lot of graphic sex and violence just for the hell of it, just to outdo their last book … and it was getting pretty disgusting.’"
Sybil Steinberg, writing in Publishers Weekly, commented that Crucifax Autumn "succeeds because of Garton's enthusiasm and his sure sense of adolescent weltschmerz." A St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers commented: "There's a strong sexual element in Crucifax, adding that this indicates that "Garton was unhappy about the editing of this novel by its original publisher, and an unexpurgated version appeared in a limited-edition hardcover as Crucifax Autumn." "The author of Live Girls and Crucifax Autumn hasn't lost his touch," wrote a contributor to Locus of Trade Secrets, a 1990 work that "starts out like a hyper- noir Hitchcock flick, stoked with a breakneck pace borrowed from tough contemporary alternative-press suspense comics." The reviewer went on to note that "Trade Secrets gets high marks for triggering the reader's adrenaline flow. There's no question this is compulsively readable."
Methods of Madness is a collection of the author's short stories and a novella. Many of the stories focus on repressed sexual desires or identities, such as "Kinky Sex," a story about a man faithful to his wife but who finds himself involved in murder and blackmail when he finally cheats on her. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author's "writing is compelling … particularly when he explores psychopathologies."
In his 1999 thriller Biofire, the author tells the story of a freedom-loving group of people fighting against OdysseyCorp Labs, a weapons system company that sells its weapons to anyone who can pay. Owned by Landon Shaw, the company's newest effort is Project Biofire, a doomsday weapon involving synthetic viruses put into brains, resulting in psychokinetic powers. When Shaw experiments on his estranged wife, she escapes with incredible powers and is aided by Neil McNolte in avoiding capture. In a review of Biofire on the Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary Web site, Rick Kleffel noted: "What lifts Garton's book beyond the typical thrill-packed roller-coaster ride is his ability to create vivid characters who demand the reader's interest, attention and sympathy." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Weird science runs amok and poses a provocative threat to personal freedoms in this slick … thriller."
Garton takes an isolated, disabled, telephone information operator who comes across a murder during a 411 call in the aptly titled novella 411. Rick Kleffel, writing on the Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary Web site, noted: "He doesn't get in his own way as he tells his taut little tale of terror. Each of the supporting characters is clearly defined and easy to assimilate." Sex and Violence in Hollywood tells the story of defense attorney Rona Horowitz, who is accomplished at getting movie stars and other notables off the hook in Los Angeles court cases. Rona always seems to win until young Adam Julian, comes along and confronts Rona in a courtroom encounter following the horrible murder of Alyssa, Adam's stepsister, with whom he was having an affair. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the novel "provides more thrills than a high-speed car chase on an L.A. freeway."
The Folks features the terribly disfigured Andy Sayer, who is seduced by a woman in a graveyard. Andy eventually discovers that the woman lives with a family of "freaks," including a pinhead, Siamese twins, and a man with a tail who turns out to be a serial killer. A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote of the novel: "Carton has storytelling talent—the pacing here is brisk, the word craft expert." In the sequel, Folks 2 Andy Sayer's disfigurements have been cured by plastic surgery. However, Andy soon finds himself being hunted by a freakish man who wants to eat him after Andy's lover Roxanne, who has a genital deformity, finds out that Andy has fallen for a normal girl. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the novel is not characteristic of Garton's usual approach to story telling in that it is "surprisingly light, almost sentimental."
Garton received widespread praise for his novel The New Neighbor, a tongue-in-cheek tale about a beautiful neighbor who is a sexual vampire out to fulfill the x-rated fantasies of all her neighbors. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the novel's "excesses and its sense of the ridiculous." In Scissors, Garton tells the story of a botched penis operation on Stuart Mulond. Although the urologist who performed the operation years ago is wasting away in a nursing home, Stuart keeps encountering him snapping his threatening scissors at him. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "delivers his usual potent cocktail of extreme physical horror."
The Loveliest Dead features Jenna and David Kellar who suffer personal tragedies only heightened by ghostly visits when they move to a homestead that they have inherited. Especially disturbing is the fact that one of the child ghosts resembles their late son Josh. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the action pulls the reader into a frightening world."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1988, review of Crucifax Autumn, p. 642; April 1, 1990, review of Methods of Madness, p. 450.
Kliatt, September, 1992, review of Dark Channel, p. 10.
Library Journal, June 15, 1991, Jackie Cassada, review of Cafe Purgatorium, p. 109; November 15, 1991, Eric W. Johnson, review of Lot Lizards, p. 107.
Locus, March, 1990, review of Trade Secrets, p. 17; July, 1990, review of Methods of Madness, pp. 17, 57; September, 1990, review of Methods of Madness, p. 58; February, 1991, review of Trade Secrets, p. 37; August, 1991, review of The New Neighbor, pp. 21, 54-55; October, 1991, review of Lot Lizards, pp. 23, 25; December, 1991, review of Lot Lizards, p. 52; January, 1992, review of The New Neighbor, p. 56; July, 1992, review of Dark Channel, pp. 19, 21, 56.
New York Times Book Review, March 24, 1991, Ken Tucker, "The Splatterpunk Trend, and Welcome to It," pp. 13-14.
Publishers Weekly, October 5, 1984, review of Seductions, p. 89; May 13, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Crucifax Autumn, p. 265; May 11, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Methods of Madness, p. 248; May 31, 1991, review of Cafe Purgatorium, p. 60; March 3, 1997, review of Shackled, p. 72; January 18, 1999, review of Biofire, p. 333; May 31, 1999, review of Seduction, p. 73; April 2, 2001, review of The Folks, p. 44; October 15, 2001, review of Sex and Violence in Hollywood, p. 51; October 6, 2003, review of The New Neighbor, p. 67; April 26, 2004, review of Scissors, p. 46; August 29, 2005, review of Night Life, p. 38; March 6, 2006, review of The Loveliest Dead, p. 51; November 13, 2006, review of The Folks 2, p. 39.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1985, review of Seductions, p. 48; October, 1991, review of Warlock, p. 211.
Wilson Library Bulletin, October, 1992, review of Dark Channel, pp. 96-97.
Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary,http://trashotron.com/agony/ (April 4, 2007), Rick Kleffel, reviews of Biofire and 411.
Biting Dog Press Web site,http://www.bitingdogpress.com/ (April 3, 2007), brief profile of author.
FeoAmante's Horror Thriller Stuff,http://www.feoamante.com/ (April 3, 2007), review of Sex and Violence in Hollywood.
Really Scary,http://www.reallyscary.com/ (April 3, 2007), Scott Sandin, "‘Only a True Friend Knows the Truth’ An Interview with Ray Garton."
World Horror Convention 2006 Web site,http://whc2006.org/ (April 19, 2005), "The 2006 Grand Master Award."