Chiaroscuro by Matthew S Cox

When a priest is sent by the Vatican to investigate a possible case of vampirism in rural France, he finds a little girl in chains. Can something evil also be innocent?

The book starts with Fr Antonio Molinari investigating a case of possible demonic possession. He works for the Order of St Michael; tasked to travel Europe checking up on reports of the occult, and taking action where necessary. As it’s the 19th century, travel is slow and uncomfortable, and Fr. Molinari is exhausted by his hectic schedule.

Straight after dealing with the possessed young woman, Fr Molinari is sent to a church to check on a creature that is suspected to be a vampire. Held captive by the parish priest in a dungeon, the creature is Sabine, an innocent young girl. Fr Molinari finds himself compelled to help her, while at the same time he comes to question everything he knows about vampires.

This book is very well written, in keeping with the time period it is set in, and sensitive to the religious and philosophical subjects it touches on. Fr Molinari and Sabine are compelling characters. While this is easily classified as a horror book – plenty of blood and death, demons and vampires – it is the relationship between the priest and the child that is both the narrative and emotional heart of the novel.

I love reading about good Catholic priests going up against the forces of darkness, and this book didn’t disappoint. It has monsters, ethical dilemmas and ultimately it is about love.

I award Chiaroscuro

Click here to buy Chiaroscuro on Amazon.

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