book review, Crystal Lake, horror

Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia

It’s time to return to Clifton Heights, the small town where nothing is what it seems and the weird waits in every shadow.

Sheriff Chris Baker meets up with priest, Father Ward, in the Skylark diner to exchange stories that puzzle and unsettle.

The first novella, Sopan (or Devourer of Souls), takes place in the 1980s/1990s, when Father Ward was a teenager. It’s the story of Jake Burns, an abused young man, who takes out his anger on a local Vietnamese fruit grower, Mister Trung.

The time period is a great backdrop for this story of alienation and anger. It’s easy to see how Jake’s frustration leads to fear and hatred, and it’s impossible not to sympathize with him, as he journeys down a dark path.

The beginning of this novella has some incredibly creepy imagery, as well as one scary game, and I felt it was building to something epic. Therefore I was slightly disappointed by the ending, as I found it anticlimactic.

The second novella, The Man in Yellow, is a five star tour de force. Inspired by Robert W Chambers’s The King in Yellow, it’s tense, atmospheric, and terrifying.

Eighteen year old Stuart Michael Evans lives in Tahawus, a small town close to Clifton Heights. Cerebral Palsy makes walking slow and painful for the young man, and has driven him from the religion of his Methodist preacher father.

When a charismatic new preacher arrives at the church, will Stuart’s lack of faith save him?

This story is also set in the early 1990s. I liked how Stuart’s disability was handled, as well as the discussion of faith in this story.

It’s engrossing, hard to put down, well crafted, and absolutely terrifying.

I award Devourer of Souls

2 thoughts on “Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia”

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