by Kevin Sheehan
Category: Fiction / Horror
148 pages; ISBN: 1413727875
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kevin Tipple
Having read his highly amusing and twisted mystery novel, “Should Old Acquaintance Be Rubbed Out” which was a very good book, I was very open to reading another book by this author. That is, until he told me it was a horror novel originally conceived as a graphic novel. Despite my strong misgivings, I told him I would take a look. Though it was a bit much for me at times, I’m glad I did because this is a very good book.
The novel deals with the timeless classic battle between good and evil. In this case, good on Earth is represented by the blind Father Michael who lives in the bowls of the Vatican known only to a few chosen people. One of those who know him is the current Pope, Pope Pius XIII.
Representing evil is the demon Cain, killer of his brother in far simpler times. Now he has come back after being gone for over twenty-five years. He has killed and violated at will once again and has laid siege to a small Vermont town, “South Russell” while he awaits the coming battle. Father Rooney of the town Parish has sent for help and the Pope responds by sending Father Michael out once again to do battle with Cain.
They have battled on and off for over a thousand years and the clash this time goes a little different, as Cain has learned a few new tricks. Not only does he beat the heck out of Father Michael, who is only alive because he is almost immortal, but Cain gets away and goes to New York City. Not that he is fleeing from the battle by any stretch of the imagination. No, in this age of instant communication he has a very good plan. Mankind is forbidden to know the actual truth of the battle between good and evil and Cain plans that the upcoming battle between himself and Father Michael will have grave consequences for all.
Originally intended as a graphic novel, this book moves forward at a frenetic pace with character development as an after thought. Instead, the focus is on the action, which is often almost nonstop as well as intensely disturbing. Kevin Sheehan’s powerful imagery and descriptions are very detailed as to exactly what is happening. As such, readers are cautioned that some may be disturbed by the frequent and very detailed depictions of death, rape, other sex acts, mutilations, etc, involved in this novel.
However, having said that, the positives, even for this non-horror genre fan, far out weight the negatives. The story is well told and riveting with fascinating characters developed through the limited back story. The read is intense and the book comes alive in just a few pages and holds the reader’s attention throughout the work. Not a word is wasted as the author paints a vivid word portrait of a world gone completely mad. This book is currently a Bram Stroker award nominee.
By Kevin Sheehan
Publish America Publishers
ISBN # --Not Listed
Kevin R. Tipple © 2004