Book Review – Ritual by Steve Stred

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I’d been excited about reading this new novella from Steve Stred since he’d first teased the demonic carrot from an inverted crucifix a few months ago. I’m a big fan of his other releases and he’s a top guy to boot. When this one promised to be ‘dark and horrific’ I was hooked.

When I came to write this review I was planning on mentioning how it wasn’t actually as dark as I expected. Perhaps I’d built it up in my head to be something that would sicken even me. But now as I sit typing these here words, thinking back on the hour or so of my reading (whilst eating, I might add), the darkness has well and truly stayed with me.

Yeah, thinking back there is plenty of nasty-ass nastiness in this charming little book.

Brad is a guy who works in telesales. His work life is mundane, his colleagues irritating and vulgar, and he has little to look forward to. Well, that’s all about to change.

Brad’s church (more like cult) is planning on a mighty celebration at the end of the week. Brad is ‘The Chosen One’, something we know little about until the horrific climax of the tale. Brad spends his week preparing for the ritual with Father, who is a right bastard I can tell you!

Father’s actions are diabolical and disgusting, but Brad doesn’t care, chosen ones don’t I suppose. As the date looms, things get more grotesque and shocking.

This church isn’t your typical God-loving crew who celebrate with songs and worship to a loving guy in the sky. No, no, no; murder, mutilation, and rape all play a part in their despicable dogma.

This book offers no let-up to the reader. As things become clearer about what’s actually going on, what with the demons and everything, the tension boils like a pulsating lake of blood in Hell. Brad is willing to do and suffer anything to be this chosen dude thingy. Anything.

The descriptions of his working day help to highlight the shit he has to put up with to serve his higher purpose, and at times they seemed to only slow the pace down (very slightly). But fear not, as the real reason for all this becomes clear towards the end. Earlier interactions suddenly become more unnerving when you think back over them.

The meat and gravy of the story is nothing you haven’t seen before, but the punch this thing packs is like a smack in the chops by the Great Horned One himself. Fans of horror should be spilling blood in desperation to get their hands on this one.

Or maybe you could just look on Amazon!



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