Book Marks: Nightmares in the closet
After a particularly nasty home invasion by armed robbers in balaclavas, Capetonians Mark and Steph do a bargain house-swap online with a Parisian couple in the hope that some time spent in the French capital will do their traumatised souls the world of good. HORROR AND HALLOWEEN READINGThe Apartment by SL Grey (Macmillan)After a particularly nasty home invasion by armed robbers in balaclavas, Capetonians Mark and Steph do a bargain house-swap online with a Parisian couple in the hope that some time spent in the French capital will do their traumatised souls the world of good. Fat chance, this being a superbly creepy tale from Grey - the collective pen name of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. Mark and Steph find themselves trapped in a seedy apartment in Pigalle; the windows won't open, there are strange noises in the mostly deserted building and, oddly, large bags of hair in the closet. Dark secrets from Mark's past emerge, and the cracks in an otherwise perfect marriage grow ever wider ...MORE CREEPINESSAnother city, another terrible flat - one on the eighth floor of a Tokyo building that overlooks a temple, a burial ground and a crematory - in Mariko Koike's The Graveyard Apartment (Thomas Dunne Books).The novel has a similar dynamic to The Apartment - a young family refuses at first to acknowledge weird things that take place a few months after moving in until it's a little too late.First published in Japan to tremendous acclaim in 1985 but only recently translated into English, the advance notices for The Graveyard Apartment have been very good.Maria Alexander, Bram Stoker Award winner and author of Mr Wicker, described it thus: "This incredibly creepy story seeps into your bones like that basement chill, searing imagery into your brain that's so startling, your nightmares and elevator rides will never be the same."CRASH COURSEDid you know that Cleopatra used a vibrator filled with bees? This buzzy factoid comes courtesy of a new graphic novel that is, uh, graphic in both senses. A best-seller in France, psychiatrist Philippe Brenot and illustrator Laeticia Cory's anthropological study of the sexual mores of human societies from prehistoric times to the 21st century, The Story of Sex: From Apes to Robots (Particular Books) is now available in English. Despite the somewhat academic nature of Brenot's work - he is, after all, the director of sexology at Paris Descartes University - the book, thanks to Cory's wonderful artwork, is a charming, somewhat cheeky, if irreverent and sometimes alarming history of the evolution of the modern couple. Whoever they may be.THE BOTTOM LINE"You're shorter than I expected." - One of the most common responses from fans upon meeting Bruce Springsteen at book signings. The rocker told The Guardian that, since its publication in September, he's personally autographed at least 17000 copies of his memoir, Born To Run (Simon & Schuster)ANOTHER BOTTOM LINE"We are thinking of blood all the time, whether we think we are or not." - Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J Skal (Liveright)..