"John Everson's newest novel is so powerful, so terrifying, so implacable in the evil it describes, that I could not stop reading." - The Haunted Reading Room
Austin secretly wishes his wife would drop dead. He even says so one boozy midnight at the bar to a sultry stranger with a mysterious tattoo. When his wife later introduces that stranger as Regina, their new neighbor, Austin hopes she will be a good influence on his wife. Instead, one night he comes home to find his wife dead. Soon he’s entranced with Regina, who introduces him to a strange world of bloodletting, rituals and magic. A world that puts everything he loves in peril. Can Austin save his daughter, and himself, before the planets align for the Devil’s Equinox?
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Wrought with tropes as old as the horror genre, this fast-paced narrative forgoes genuine scares for misogynistic na vit and campy sexual themes. Austin's marriage with Angie is on the rocks, and when he meets an alluring stranger with an unusual tattoo at his local bar, he confesses to her that he wishes Angie were dead. Soon Angie introduces the stranger to him as their new neighbor Regina, and Austin hopes that sexy Regina will influence his wife to loosen up. Instead, he returns home one evening to find Angie dead as he had wished. Stunned and overwhelmed, he accepts Regina's offer to care for his infant daughter, Ceili. Austin quickly becomes enamored with Regina and is willingly lured down a dark path paved with black magic and lust that proves to be as dangerous as it is disturbing. Everson has skill with the details of scenery, but it's hard to suspend disbelief in this over-the-top heap of horror clich s, including the dangerous sexpot (" How easy a man is to deceive when a woman is involved," Austin muses), a pedophile priest (whose lusts are described in stomach-churning detail), bloody Satanic rituals, and the undead. If this were meant to be a parody, it would be hilarious, but it entirely lacks real supernatural scares.