The Glass Cliff is a contemporary Gothic horror set in the industrial north.
Businesswomen Kari Jordan is delighted when she is promoted to chief executive of Clegg’s Building Company in Lancashire. She’s sure of herself and sure she can rise to the challenge, until dark forces are unleashed against her. Then she doesn’t know if she is going crazy, or if she is truly being fought with Voodoo.
It’s as if she’s two people. Kari hears that a potential whistle-blower’s father is dead. Her deeper, primitive self turns faint. Her rational self insists that the man drank too much, and the whiskey bottle hex was just a coincidence. In the same way, after an attack on her car, she thinks the satellite navigation malfunctioned. She says that only reason she’s selling her Mini is to celebrate her promotion with a Mercedes. She’s shocked to the core when the Mini crashes, killing the new owner, but the deeper Kari’s fears, the harder her rational self works to dispel them.
She has to prove that the five company directors are milking the company and get rid of them. But as she uncovers their misdeeds they fight back with worldly weapons and with voodoo. Kari is smart enough to understand she’s in danger, but she’s too educated to accept the evidence of her own senses, and she’s busy. She doesn’t have time to crack up. She visits a psychiatrist who tells her that she’s been promoted too quickly. Her unconscious mind is suffering from a fear of success. There is a lot of literature to prove the theory. Solid, rational, scientific proof, the kind Kari believes in. There’s no proof and no witnesses when one of the directors lets slip that she’ll be killing a kitten that night, whispering in its ear first so that it carries a message into the underworld.
Voodoo? Kari can’t believe it. Corruption she can go head to head with and understand. She’s met, and defeated it before. But if her enemies are using supernatural forces against her, then she must defend herself. When her computer screen saver flashes up a voodoo hex she visits her psychiatrist again. He tells her she’s paranoid. She walks out.
Against her better judgement, Kari has become involved with a campaign to save Overlook Cemetery, 26 acres of beautiful Victorian ruin. The unworldly campaigners, her landlady, Annette, Barry from IT and a stargazer called Ivor, need Kari’s business acumen to help them fight their battle. There’s dark grumpy Mike Heron, of course. His abrasive personality annoys the hell out of Kari, but he is efficient. He introduces her to a healer, Sue Lincoln. Kari finds herself wearing violet because it’s healing and getting all touchy-feely. Through Sue’s therapy Kari discovers the real personality that was hidden deep within. She feels like a peeled snail. How is she going to defeat her enemies now that she feels so vulnerable?
Handsome, blond, successful Dean Rainford might be the answer. From the start he courts Kari. He says they’d make a great power couple and she has to agree. She finds herself leaning on him, confiding in him, trusting him as she’s never opened up to a man before. He talks to her about Overlook Cemetery. Dean’s right, the city needs more car parking and the campaigners are a shower of flakes. Kari makes a special trip to the local pub to tell the Friends of Overlook Cemetery that she’s quitting. They manoeuvre her into having her aura cleansed. Soaking up warmth and camaraderie, Kari can’t believe she was about to abandon the campaign for profit. She crosses a personal Rubicon not so much by accepting an amulet, but by learning a protective visualisation.
It’s all rubbish, of course, and it certainly doesn’t work. Although Kari manages to sack Dr Ian Wallace, (despite an unsettling visit from his Beninese wife) nothing is going well. Dean is angry with her. A construction worker dies. Kari is held legally responsible for a breakdown in health and safety that caused the accident. It’s her darkest hour. She doesn’t seem able to operate at her old level or in any of the new ways that she’s been exploring. The whistleblower finally gives Kari the information she needs, but then she dies. Kari is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the corruption she finds within the company, and the danger around her. She won’t give in. She collects up every weapon around her, spiritual and temporal, and goes to confront the directors.
The directors have decided to deal with Kari for once and for all. They summon Baron Samedi who, although happy to create death and mayhem, is by no means a biddable spirit. The Friends of Overlook cemetery appear to help Kari. The Baron takes Bob West instead, and Frances’s sanity. Former skeptic Jagtar Batoa sizes up the situation and decides to emigrate to Canada. The company would appear to be under Kari’s control, but she becomes aware that she has one more enemy left. It appears to be Mike Heron, but its actually Dean Rainford.