This review brings us to short story number two in the Hellbound Hearts collection. “The Cold”, written by Conrad Williams, decides to do something different with the Hellraiser universe and the result is unfortunately a story that should belong somewhere else. Read on for the chilling report…
With “Prisoners of the Inferno”, Peter Atkins cleverly snuck his hand into the Hellraiser pie. “The Cold” on the hand goes a different route and decides to bypass anything Hellraiser related and deliver a story that seems like it should’ve been in a different book altogether. “The Cold” isn’t badly written, in fact it reads fairly quick. The writing style tries to mimic the scattered mind of the lead character, a detective and in doing so it comes off a little disjointed at first. Once you get use to it though, the pages turn quickly.
The story of “The Cold” revolves around Detective Gravier (a lonely man who wants nothing but to reconnect with his soul mate, a woman he only briefly glimpsed out of the corner of his eye many years earlier) investigating the strange murders of teenage girls during the cold of winter. One night, while investigating a previous crime scene, Gravier runs into a strange man who gives him a business card that just says Lady Ice. Could this mysterious Lady Ice hold the key to the murders? Will Detective Gravier find his long lost soul mate? Will something Hellraiser related actually happen in this story? Honestly, I would tell you if I could, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the lacklustre surprise. I can however say that the “Cenobite” present in this story, sounds like a fairly interesting design and I would love to see a visual representation of it.
If “The Cold” was in another book, say the Books of Blood for example, it would’ve been a fine story. Having it present in a book about Hellraiser wasn’t a wise choice. It reminds me a little of the later Hellraiser sequels, a plot that seems like it was previously written as something else and someone figured why not tweak a few things and call it Hellraiser. Sometimes that isn’t a bad thing, I’m a fan of the DTV Hellraiser films (except Hellraiser: Hellworld), but in “The Cold’s” case, it just couldn’t cut the cold feeling I was left with after finishing it. Let’s hope Hellbound Hearts returns to form with the next story.