Book Review – Now Comes the Darkness by Joe Zito

now comes the darkness

Stories involving God-fearing lunatics hell-bent on driving the devil out of their ‘loved’ ones are generally pretty creepy affairs. Now Comes the Darkness is one such tale, and the creepiness is right up there on the scare scale.

Mary lives with her Aunt Charlotte following the tragic death of Mary’s parents. The story begins with adult Mary, working as a teacher, reflecting back on her teenage years and still haunted by her aunt. These years were not a happy time for her, as you can imagine.

After her parents’ death, Mary is left in the family home to be ‘cared’ for by her sinister Aunt Charlotte. There’s no other way of putting this; Charlotte is a crazy bitch. She is convinced Mary has the Devil inside her, and spends many years attempting to bleed the King of Hell from her niece’s body.

Of course, Mary is just a normal girl, albeit one with no parents and a psychotic aunt as her legal guardian. But there’s certainly no Devil in her.

This novella is short on pages but definitely deep with atmosphere. The main story takes place in 1935 during a dust storm which is almost a character in itself. The claustrophobic nature of the setting almost made me cough my way through the book as the desperate elements of the drought-infested land were harrowingly described.

As the story progresses, Charlotte’s acts of torture intensify and Mary is sent to nearly-breaking point. The girl feels totally alone and unable to talk to anyone about her tragic plight. Scenes of her previous life with her loving parents are weaved into the narrative perfectly, aiding the real sadness of her situation.

It doesn’t take long for people to start realising something is wrong in Mary’s life. But is Aunt Charlotte about to let anyone in on their little secret?

I really got a great sense of the house and the horrors endured by Mary at the hands of her evil aunt. The descent into madness is very real and her fears expertly captured. We know that Mary survives (she’s an adult at the beginning, remember?) so the tension is not quite as realised as it could be because of this. But did she really survive this torment unscathed? Are the emotional scars there forever? Will she ever be rid of the memory of Aunt Charlotte?

The title of this story I think is prefect. The darkness formed from the dust storm that clouds everything in blackness, but there is also a darkness coming for Mary, one that follows her throughout her life.

This short, sharp ride was a creepy, unsettling delight!

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