Midnight In The Chapel Love: Matthew R. Davis
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I often start this part of my reviews by trying to relate how the book I’m reviewing comes into my periphery. I have to say, it wasn’t until I accepted this book to review (or very shortly before) that I even connected with Davis. In fact (and shame on me) we’re even Demain Publishing family, with both of us previously releasing a Short! Sharp! Shocks! release. No, in this case, this book got on my radar when Don Noble shared the fantastic cover art for this book at the start of January. I was immediately intrigued and knowing it was coming out through JournalStone, I jumped at the chance when it was offered for review.
What I liked: Davis has created a story with significant depth and soul, a hard feat to do when you consider the “simplistic” basis of this book. In the woods is a cave. It has been said that if a couple enters the cave they can’t leave without passing the test. If they fail they don’t leave together. Regular folk who enter discover a standard cave, with no hidden segment.
Fascinating, yet straight forward.
With that in mind, Davis gives us a group of friends on the precipice of their future. Soon enough, they won’t be getting together to drink the weekends away.
I loved how we get past and present interwoven together. In fact, we get present, past and before the past. It flows really well and Davis has an easy way with telling the story but also with dialogue.
The cave portion is truly the standout aspect and when we hit the 50% mark of the book it really takes off and I was anxious until the very end. The end. I need to mention this part also. Wow. Wow. What a conclusion. Many will see what happens coming, but frankly, it won’t matter. You’ll be crushed all the same.
What I didn’t like: I found the first 3rd to be a bit bogged down in ‘nothingness.’ It was good to get some background and interaction of the group, but it still was a bit slow to get off the ground.
Why you should buy this: Davis has created a book that hums on a number of levels. Fans of Chad Lutzke, Kealan Patrick Burke and Ania Ahlborn will all be pleasantly surprised with Davis’ writing.
The story was superb and the legend of the cave felt so real, as though it was a story shared where I grew up, which was a bonus.
This was a fantastic story and a phenomenal introduction to Matthew’s work. I can’t wait to dive into his other work and see what I’ve been missing.
You can read a superb guest post from Matthew regarding the Australian Speculative Horror scene HERE
Midnight In The Chapel Of Love
Jonny Trotter has spent the last fifteen years running from tragic memories of the country town where he grew up-but the black envelopes pushed under his door won’t let him forget, and now that his father has died, he can run no more.
Returning to Waterwich for the funeral and wake with his partner Sloane, Jonny must confront old resentments, his estranged best friends Brendan and Coralie, a strange, veiled woman the locals call the White Widow…and the mystery surrounding the fate of his first lover, Jessica Grzelak.
A morbid and reckless city girl banished to the country to live with her aunt, Jessica loved to push the limits and explore the shadows-and no one has seen her since the night of her high school formal, the night she and Jonny went looking for the Chapel.
Rumoured to be found in the woods outside Waterwich, mentioned in playground rhymes about local lovebirds Billy and Poppy and their killing spree in 1964, the Chapel is said to be an ancient, sacred place that can only be entered by lovers-a test that can only be passed if their bond is pure and true.
Before he can move on to a future with Sloane, Jonny must first face the terrible truth of his past-and if he can’t bring it out into the light at last, it might just pull him and everything he loves down into the dark, forever.
You can also buy directly from JournalStone Publishing HERE
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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