Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by John Everson
Published by Leisure Books
If you like horror with lots of gore and sex, with a whole lot of dark overtones, and with the impending threat of demons who want to invade the world and literally screw everyone to death, have I got a book for you. The sequel to Everson's Covenant, Sacrifice promises and delivers another compelling chapter to the story of Terrel's Peak.
Sacrifice picks up roughly where its predecessor left off, with the lead character, Joe Kieran, trying to forget everything that happened in Terrel's Peak. Of course, that's a bit difficult with the demon Malachi trapped in his head, but he's bound to try anyway. Meanwhile, across the country, a mysterious and sexy woman lures men to her hotel room with the promise of hot sweaty good times, then butchers them in a ritual to bring forth an ancient race of demons who respect only depravity and blood. Add to the mix a seventeen-year-old abuse-surviving witchling, and you have the makings for a good read.
Everson doesn't shy away from anything bloody, violent or depraved in this book, but he doesn't use the killings or sex gratuitously. It all functions well to move the plot forward. And just when you think he's going to throw something gratuitous in, Everson holds back, building the tension and eventually, the tragedy. His description and attention to detail, rather than bog the reader down with minutiae, work well to bring the reader into the scene, and will make the reader feel dirty for all the right reasons.
Another strong point about Everson's work is his characterization. So many authors have a problem with writing characters that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, but not so here. The characters all speak with their own voices and move to their own rhythms. From the sexy serial killer's purrs to Malachai's oozing hatred, every character has his or her own life in the story, and Everson really brings them off the page.
The only complaint about the story comes from the plot itself. In trying to stop the big nasties from getting through to our world for the apoca-orgy, Joe and his seventeen-year-old witchling companion Alex wind up following the killer across the country. But during at least a few of their stops to chat with the dead and see what happened, they discuss taking in the sights like they're on vacation. The sense of urgency is almost lost because of the little break-ins.
On the whole, Sacrifice is a welcome addition to the saga of Terrel's Peak. Well written and full of blood and sex, it keeps the reader's attention from page one.
4 out of 5
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