The Devil’s Equinox – John Everson
Reviewed By Brian Bogart
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: FLAME TREE PRESS (27 Jun. 2019)
“Life doesn’t sit still for death. If anything, it moves faster…”
Upon receiving this ARC from Flame Tree Press, it brought to mind that very special time in the 70’s and 80’s, where the Devil had his claws in every reader’s mind.
The Dark Lord teasing wish fulfilment and gratuitous sexual tomfoolery in exchange for their souls. That delectable sense of power, to have exactly what you wanted and more with just a mere surrender of your repression and guilt- oh, the temptation of the flesh is only the beginning. Humans are weak by design, and the pure ecstasy of caving into the base and carnal desires has always been an easy in for Him.
Everson explores the dark and sexy nightclub underworld, teeming with fetishists and witchcraft. The main character, Austin, makes a drunken, offhand comment about wanting his wife dead to a stranger. Hey, look- now she’s dead. Careful what you wish for, bud. But could this be a blessing in disguise? Given the appearance of a bewitching, sexy lady in his life- perhaps?
Yeah, right. Horror has never been known for their tales of uplifting redemption- at least, not without throwing the characters into some form of Hell first. What was supposed to be just a one-off complaint becomes the catalyst for a strange and erotic trip of dark delights- and the endangerment of his own child in an ancient satanic ritual.
The mouth of Hell, in this case, is a place called The Club. The scenes detailed here are graphic and dark, showcasing the style that Everson has been very fond of most of his career. Dark, erotic horror is his meat and potatoes, and there’s always room for one more helping in his mind. And that mind dreams up some suitably dark imagery that doesn’t mind showing the underbelly of this sex club. Bondage might be the norm here, but it’s only the beginning. There is one scene in particular that explores the whole pleasure vs. pain principle, in lurid and disgusting detail.
Good stuff. Not for the bashful or easily offended, of course.
While this tale is one of predictability, there are quite a few lines that Everson spins that stick with you. Yeah, you want to kick Austin upside his head for being so dumb. But a fair number of men in real life have fallen prey to the dark temptations of strange and alluring women- it is a trope for a reason. Always some truth in a stereotype, folks. Horror fiction just sometimes doesn’t bother to expand that nuance enough for some readers.
Sometimes, there is no shame in that. This is a homage to vintage “satanic panic” fiction. You know what your target audience is and deliver the thrills as vividly as possible- which Everson has no problem doing.
The Devil’s Equinox by John Everson plays his cards evenly with this throwback to the heyday. For certain readers, we will smile devilishly because we know EXACTLY what cards they are, watching as the hapless protagonist struggles with his higher thinking skills and the “lower” ones if you catch my meaning. For others, those who have “outgrown” that time period in the genre, it will be a rocky, but passable, trip down horror memory lane.
I enjoyed it, as I am sure plenty will. The Devil is in the details. Some of those details are wonderfully written, although definitely not for everyone.
Light some candles, disrobe, prepare the Circle and for the taste of forbidden delights. All are welcome. The desires of flesh beckon. Don’t worry, they are running a special. One night only.
The discounted price of admission: just one innocent child. No refunds.
The Devil’s Equinox
Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of the humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigor.
Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.
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