Charcoal Angels: Joe Zito
Reviewed By Steve Stred
With the release of ‘Now Comes the Darkness’ and the collection ‘Dark Things,’ Joe Zito hoped into my ‘must-read’ category over the last two years.
When Zito messaged me about possibly beta-reading his newest, I was floored and jumped at the chance.
Zito writes dark, noir, sorrow-filled landscapes that weave and wind their way through the tapestry that is real life. I was so surprised with how haunting ‘Now Comes the Darkness’ was and with ‘Charcoal Angels,’ Zito’s topped it.
The story opens up with the most basic premise – an elderly resident of the town is being interviewed about her life.
She tells the young reporter that what they’re looking for won’t be what they get, not from her story.
From there, Zito transports us back forty decades and delivers a stark tale of survival and otherworldly assailants.
One thing I’ve grown to love about Joe’s writing – there’s no attempt at over-writing. I mean this in the best way possible. Joe writes exactly what is happening and it allows for the narrative to flow in such an easy to read manner. I found I was quickly sucked into the story and without a doubt, even after a number of releases already out – Zito continues to grow and cover new and exciting territory.
When I read this – the cover art hadn’t been unveiled. Seeing it now, it really fits the story and when the demonical battles are released, it certainly sums up the energy that Leigh had to conjure to stay alive.
I found this to be a truly gripping read, very cinematic in scope and once again Zito has created some truly relatable characters.
I’m really looking forward to diving into more of his back catalog. I have a number of his releases, so I’ll be working my way through them here, as I get to them.
This is a great spot for folks to jump in and read some of what Zito is about. Another excellent release from a chronically overlooked voice in the horror world.
Twenty-nine-year-old Leigh Evans is a single mother doing her best to raise her eight-year-old son. And then there is her kid sister, Myra, nineteen, who is not only artistically gifted but diabetic. She’s full of life and sass.
Leigh is in awe of her sister’s immense talent but still worries over her health issues. Despite the struggles that go along with raising a family, the Evan’s household is always full of love and laughs.
But on a warm summer night during a severe thunderstorm, a traumatic event occurs and both Leigh and Myra’s life will change forever. Everything they knew about life and death will be questioned. And what little faith Leigh has will be tested.
Since the event, Myra isn’t the same. Her artwork turns demonic, strange whispers haunt her room at night and she doesn’t remember a thing.
Then, the terrible truth comes to light. Leigh will have to protect her families safety and well being against forces she never knew existed.
Will she find the strength within her strong family unit to fight against the oncoming evil?
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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