Non-Practicing Cultist: Scott J. Moses
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’ve not read anything by Scott J. Moses before this release, but the synopsis sounded intriguing. The only thing that kind of made me wonder if I’d enjoy this was the Vietnam Vet angle. Maybe it’s because of being Canadian, or maybe it’s just that I don’t have a huge fondness for war based stories overall, but I don’t get that sucked into a story when Vietnam is a potential key component. Knowing that this was based around a man who returns to the cult he was forced to join as a kid, I pushed aside any personal negativity I have towards war stories and dove in.
What I liked: This is a fast, brutal read. If you’ve read any of my own cult based releases, you’ll be in for a treat. We follow a guy as he is invited back to the cult he left long ago. A cleansing is underway and his ‘old blood’ is necessary for the members to be able to take that next step in their ritual. But not is all as it seems.
Moses gives us hints as the story unfolds, but the final third really answers all of the questions he’s teased and we shift into another gear. Things happen fast and furious and the action was great. I especially enjoyed the merging of the events that are happening with the ritual shift.
The ending of this was spot on and opens up a lot of potential for Moses to revisit this world or even this specific cult.
What I didn’t like: As I said before, I don’t really get amped for Vietnam PTSD flashback stuff, it is used as a way to try and make us empathize with the character and see just how deep his connections to the cult go, but for this reader, it wasn’t that revelatory or connected.
Why you should buy this: If you dig cult stories, you’ll want to jump all over this. It is an easy, single-sitting read that’ll feel like you’ve just read a novel or watched a sprawling movie. Moses writes with gusto here and the characters all work really well to create a claustrophobic read.
A Vietnam veteran systematically dismantles the murderous cult he was forced to join as a young orphan…
(with a cover by Adrian Baldwin)
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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