Possession stories have a tendency to be a little hit and miss for me. In order for them to work you need the possessors to be evil enough to scare you, and the victims, or possessees, to elicit enough empathy for you to care about their plight.
Well this story by Glenn Rolfe manages to capture both of these perfectly.
The demons, Domineus and Sanikus, manage their possessions of us mere mortals by appearing in a window. They target the weak and vulnerable; the perfect vessels for their diabolical dominion. I won’t go into their reasons for this possession but they certainly mean evil business.
James is a kid of 14 who’s parents have recently separated. He’s forced to move away with his mom and her new boyfriend, someone he’s less than impressed with. James misses his old home, his dad, best friends, and a certain girl he fancies.
Richie, James’ dad, is not taking the separation at all well. Yes he’s got a great new girlfriend, but his drinking is getting out of hand and there have been occasions when he’s not able to ‘satisfy’ her in the way he’d (and she’d) like. Recent events force his thinking into him not being a ‘real man’.
Hmmm, sounds like the perfect person for a bit of possession, right?
Yes, and Domineus and Sanikus certainly agree.
And thus begins the downfall of Richie. The terror creeps in gradually, toying with him over time. The writing here was fantastic. We know that the demons are after him and scream at the pages for him to snap out of his depression and be strong and fight. Although it seems their sexual manipulation is just too great.
But this isn’t just a possession story. James’ mom agrees to let him return to his former town and live with his dad over the summer. James is absolutely ecstatic about this prospect for obvious reasons. Finally he will get a chance to work his charms on little miss Dream Girl, or Carrie as she’s known to everyone else. She also happens to be the sister of James’ best friend, which could make things complicated.
While away from the horror aspects this novel really drags you deep into James’ life. His reunion with his dad and his friends, as well as the blossoming romance with Carrie, is very Stephen King-esque. The dialogue flows seamlessly and never sounds forced, and the adventures they get up to appear very fitting for their age and environment.
As the story progresses James realises there is something wrong with his dad. He catches him doing strange things that I think everyone would hate to imagine of their father, and that’s all I’m saying here.
As expected there’s a big showdown with the demons as James and his friends attempt to confront and defeat them, but of course this review is very anti-spoilers so I’ll mention nothing of what happens during the finale.
I was a big fan of this book, and recommend all fans of horror to check it out. Yet again Glenn Rolfe impresses.
Categories: book review
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