Autumn Gothic: Brian Bowyer
Reviewed By Priscilla Bettis
Autumn Gothic is a mashup of serial killer, Gothic, extreme, and Lovecraftian horror. I loved it!
First, there’s the serial killer Delilah. She is plain evil, and it’s easy to despise her. Delilah’s sidekick, Leopold, is almost as bad, and he’s infuriating because he doesn’t think for himself. The fact that Bowyer can make a reader despise or get angry at a character is a testament to his storytelling ability.
The main setting for the story is an isolated mansion in West Virginia. Fresh flowers wilt, items disappear, strange damp spots appear, and there are secret passages under the structure. Very Gothic indeed.
As for the extreme factor, Bowyer does not hold back. There is everything from decapitation to immolation. Dogs are killed, and kids are tortured and die. But it doesn’t come across as torture porn. Not only are the gruesome scenes germane to the story, but also Bowyer balances them with thematic elements of life after death: a haunted mansion, doves as symbols, loved ones at peace on the other side of the veil, and characters discussing religion.
The only thing you can predict in a Bowyer story is that his plot will be unpredictable. I did not expect the turn toward Lovecraftian horror, but that surprise, like all the others, makes the book hard to put down.
As for any negatives, Bowyer’s prose is not a good fit for every reader. His style of writing is far from descriptive, and it often involves telling rather than showing. But it is the way people would speak in real life, especially when recounting a story around the campfire. Bowyer’s prose makes it seem like we’ve got a seat at the campfire.
Overall, Autumn Gothic is a homerun for Bowyer. It’s thought-provoking and at the same time quite gruesome.
Absolutely worth a read!
In San Francisco, Sierra falls in love with her favorite author. After learning that Vivian Kane grew up in a haunted house, she persuades Vivian to take her to the mansion in West Virginia, where they encounter a savage entity known as the Sorceress of Night.
In Los Angeles, Delilah—a celebrated musician—kills humans as sacrifices to the ancient gods of death. When Mark—her guitar player—discovers her evil ways, she gives him two choices: leave California, or become her next victim. He flees, and then Delilah changes her mind, killing people across America while pursuing him as he travels east. After she tracks him to a mansion in the mountains of West Virginia, monsters both human and inhuman collide on Halloween night.
Priscilla Bettis is an avid horror reader and passionate horror author. She’s also an excellent swimmer, which is good because vampires are terrible swimmers. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.
Amazon author page: Priscilla-Bettis