My pursuit for the perfect novel...with an emphasis on horror, suspense, and science fiction with an occasional detour into non-fiction.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
The evil within
By Jonathan Janz
Publisher: Sinister Grin Pres
Pub. Date: March 15, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This publication of Exorcist Falls is actually two books. It starts with the previously published novella Exorcist Road and continues with the longer original novel Exorcist Falls. But they should be read as one book as Exorcist Falls starts two nights later and continues the suspense and horror already pouring out of the first work.
when I say “Pouring” I mean a torrential downpour. The book gets right
to the point on page one and doesn’t let up. We meet Father Jason
Crowder as his friend and parishioner Danny Hartmann asks him to go to
his brother’s house on a late raining night. Ron Hartman’s fourteen year
old son Casey has attacked his family. Normally a priest wouldn’t be
needed for such a problem but Casey is doing more than being violent.
There is a serial killer loose and Casey is talking about things only
the serial killer would know. Casey may be the Sweet Sixteen Serial
From here the novella and novel escalates into a dizzying
combination of demonic possession horror and supernatural mystery. Is
Casey possessed? Is he really the serial killer? The first question is
answered quickly as Father Crowder calls in his mentor Father Sutherland
and they prepare for the exorcism. The second question gets more
interesting as red herrings and accusations fly constantly. Of course
demons never make anything easy.
The first novella, Exorcist Road,
takes place during the night of the exorcism and there is a clear
ending in which we find out much about the possession and the murders.
The title novel, as previously stated, starts two nights later. The
problem is that any description of its plot will spoil portions of the
novella so it is enough to say that the flow of the action blends
seamlessly. Father Crowder is battling both demon and serial killer
while fearing for both his body and soul. There are more clever turns
all the way to the end.
I find exorcism thrillers to be a curious
breed of horror novel. They focus on the most intimate of fears. The
evil inside us. To some extent, they are comforting. Our dark secrets
can be blamed on the supernatural, the demon inside us. If only it was
that easy. Jonathan Janz gives us a turn by dealing with both horrors,
that of the supernatural and that which is our own choosing, and
suggests that maybe they are not all that separable. He does this in a
tight well-structured plot and with a sharp eye for action and dialogue.
If the action feels a bit too forced at times with its many twists and
coincidences, it is easy to forgive when one’s words flow so easily on
the pages. Exorcist Falls is a riveting horror thriller about supernatural horrors but and also the more mundane horrors of the human condition.