Gods Of The Black Gate – Joseph Sale
Reviewed by Steve Stred
Gods of the Black Gate is my first go around with Mr. Sale and color me a fan! Now, from time to time a book comes up for review and I simply skim the synopsis to see if I will enjoy it and have time to fit it into my current reading schedule. The synopsis of this had me both interested but also worried.
Set in the year 2060, notorious serial killer Craig Smiley is imprisoned on Mars, locked away for life. Meanwhile, back on earth, one of the detectives who tracked him down and arrested him, Caleb Rogers, struggles with what he has heard from Smiley during all of their interviews.
When Smiley escapes from the prison on Mars, Caleb and his partner Tom (who also helped arrest Craig) are sent back to Mars to track the killer down.
So why was I a bit worried? Mars. I have struck out with a number of Mars novels because they can be typically too-sciencey for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Martian, and when done well, science can be fantastic extra pieces of knowledge in some books, but I personally, just haven’t had luck recently with science fiction based books on Mars. Well, this isn’t science fiction friends! This is a true psychological horror tale set on the red planet.
Sale does a great job at crafting a cosmic tale filled with fantastic historical and literary references throughout.
When I was reading this, I actually messaged a few friends to tell them I had just read one of the most original death scenes in some time. You see, Craig Smiley has to appease the Dark God to open the Black Gate, at which time, apparently, earth and humanity will be saved from itself. So while on earth, Smiley kills seven different women, seven different ways for seven different lesser Gods. Phenomenal.
Caleb and Tom work well together as veteran partners and Smiley is an enjoyable, deplorable evil villain. This book reads so fluidly that even the intermission add-ins of prior interview transcriptions never once work as a detriment. The pacing escalates throughout, finally resulting in a very realistic, but none-the-less gruesome finale.
I’m so glad I took the chance on this book. It easily surpassed all of my expectations and I’m still thinking about some of the finer details thrown in a few days after finishing. Kudo’s to the author for such a solid offering.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
“There are those who bow to darkness. And there are others to whom darkness bows.”
In 2060 Caleb Rogers and his partner Tom Marvin put away one of the most dangerous serial killers Texas has ever known: Craig Smiley, an ex-infantry mental patient who believes he can summon seven gods through a series of disturbing rituals. Caleb and Tom secured him a life sentence in Mars’s toughest prison. They thought the whole thing was finished. But when Smiley escapes the prison seven years later and sets out once again on his insane mission, Caleb and Tom are sent to Mars to track him down. Both cop and criminal are determined to finish what they started. Only the criminal will stop at nothing. Gods of the Black Gate is part thriller, part supernatural horror, part sci-fi blockbuster and at its heart: a journey of spiritual descent.
Steve has a new book coming out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Please read the following announcement and we’d love it if you could preorder ‘Dim The Sun’.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here