The Portal: Russell James
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Flame Tree Press continues to release high quality reads with even higher quality authors in their stable. When I saw Russell had been added and that his book ‘The Portal‘ would be coming out through them, I was so excited. Russell has also been amazingly kind and supportive to me and seeing him continue to succeed warms my heart.
If you’ve not read a James book before, there are a few things you should know going in.
1) Action. James likes to write fantastic action scenes.
2) Carnage. See #1.
3) Characters. Russell has a way of making characters feel like you’ve known them forever and that they may just be walking down the street outside your house this very minute.
What I liked: What if the devil hung out in your town and made a bunch of deals with the people? That is the basic premise of ‘The Portal.’ Lucifer himself was called forth many years ago and now he’s back, wanting to cash in on debts owed.
James takes this idea and runs with it, creating a story filled with darkness, dread and some fantastic characters. We get introduced to them at the beginning, which allows the reader to truly know just who they’ve decided to take this wild ride with.
I loved Scott and Allie’s characters, seeing where they came from, and how they arrived at their current situation, but the character of Oates, Mr. Satan himself was a barrel of fun.
What I didn’t like: In the afterword, James tells a quick story of running into an incredibly well-dressed man one night while with a female friend. This random moment inspired this story and I think if this was offered up as a foreword rather than in the afterword, it would’ve made Oates seem all that more unsettling.
Why you should buy it: ‘The Portal‘ was a ton of fun. James gives us everything that horror fans love and at the end of the book you’ll have a smile on your face. I loved how James layered the story, especially with the unfinished ritual and the town’s role in how things played out. Great stuff from a great author!
Three hundred years ago, on an isolated island in Long Island Sound, Satan tried to open a doorway to Hell. Now he’s returned to finish the task.
A black speedboat arrives at the small island community of Stone Harbor. Its mysterious passenger, Joey Oates, inspires terror by his very presence. He’s Satan incarnate, back to complete a ritual left unfinished three hundred years ago. A lost talisman called the Portal can open a doorway for the demons of Hell to enter our world. Oates plans to find the Portal, and finish unlocking it.
Former lovers Scott Tackett, family hardware store owner, and Allie Layton, flamed-out Hollywood actress, are about to reconnect after years apart, until they discover the evil growing in town. Only they can stop Oates’s awful plan and save the world from the living nightmares standing ready to crawl out of Hell.
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.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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