Horror is that unique genre that often combines with another field to create a classic story in both genres. Thus, there are quite memorable humorous horror novels, science fiction horror novels, and perhaps the most popular of all merges, the historical horror novel. With Hell Gate, award winning author, Elizabeth Massie delivers a horror novel aimed at lovers of authentic historical stories, and a historical novel that provides plenty of thrills and chills for readers of forgotten eras of historical interest. Massie, who had written numerous historical novels, knows how to capture a time and place not our own but one of social cross currents that speak directly to us and our modern day concerns.
Hell Gate tells the story of Suzanne Heath, a ticket vendor for Luna Park in 1909 Coney Island. The Boardwalk in those days was a garish, noisy place filled with bizarre shows, death-defying roller coasters, and wild and unusual shows. It is home to the tawdry, the grotesque and the unusual. A reluctant psychic, Suzanne has been approached by police Lieutenant Granger as a last chance effort to help discover and stop a killer all of whose victims have been found horribly mutilated. Suzanne feels obligated to help find and stop this maniac, but doing so forces her to remember her childhood, when her psychic gift earned her nothing but rejection, fear, and pain. Suzanne's one true friend is Cittie Parker. Cittie is a young man who ran away from the Colored Waifs' Asylum and now performs as a bloodthirsty Zulu drummer in Dreamland on Coney Island. As Suzanne's best friend, Cittie knows of her abilities. He fears for her safety. As Suzanne digs deeper into the grisly Coney Island murders and her own past, she finds herself and Cittie caught up in a nightmare where social worlds converge and collide. It's a place where death beckons her forward. It's a place where insanity grins wildly at her like a devil at the gate of hell.