In the mid-1980's, I really became a serious horror fan. I had always loved the genre, but it was then that I became a true fanatic. My Bible was Fangoria and I poured over every issue with the intensity of a born-again Christian over the Good Book. I trusted the reviews implicitly and one I read really caught my eye. It was an issue in the early 60's...I wanna say Fangoria #61, but I could be wrong.

The review was for a novel called The Happy Man, by Eric C. Higgs. The reviewer praised the book and I made a point to look for it. I eventually found a used paperback of The Happy Man and wasted no time in reading it.

Well, I loved it and I passed it on to many others. People that liked to read and others that generally didn't. Everyone loved The Happy Man.

I've been thinking about The Happy Man again and I found a used hardcover for a song recently. It isn't hard to locate at marketplace or

The Happy Man is as vivid, gripping and fascinating as I remembered it as being. The story deals with an upwardly mobile young man who lives in a newly developed housing project. He gets new neighbors, The Marshes. Ruskin is a man that takes life by the throat and gets what he wants. Mrs. Marsh is a voluptuous knockout. The two couples begin a friendship and things begin to get weird. Very weird. A neighborhood party turns into an orgy. Fights break out and people being to disappear. And The Marshes seem to be behind every disturbing incident.

The Happy Man is written in first person and seeing a decent man's perspective gradually turn sociopathic is like watching a car wreck in slow motion. The destruction and horror is painful to observe, but it's impossible to look away.

This could be considered to be a trashy novel, but I think it's brilliant. An acidic commentary of 80's consumerism gone berserk and The Happy Man came long before American Psycho.

The Happy Man is far superior to the average small press horror novel and you can get a copy a hell of a lot cheaper than just about anything out there. I only wish that more of them were as good as The Happy Man.

As far as I know, Eric C. Higgs only had one other novel published, which is called Doppleganger. Doppleganger is good, but it never reaches the DeSadian glories of The Happy Man. Few books do.

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