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Half A Dozen Devilish Books

Devils and demons are a staple of horror literature, and I adore them in novels, novellas, and short stories. Funny enough, I feel the opposite about demonic possession in films. There are a thousand-and-one possession movies, and all of them use more or less the same plot, same tricks. But the written word is full of possibilities. It doesn’t suffer the restrictions of film and gives us room to examine the idea of demons from varying viewpoints. The loss of control, the loss of one’s self, is so frightening in a horror book.

Lately, I’ve read a lot of novels based around this very idea – possession, the devil, and ancient evil. I enjoyed each title, though no two were alike. Here are some of them – a list I’m calling Half A Dozen Devilish Books.

 

Come Closer

by: Sara Gran

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I decided to buy this book when someone recommended it in the comments of a Facebook thread. The status asked something like: “What was the last book that genuinely scared you?” I read this book in a day, which is a record for me. I’m normally a slow reader. The story moves along quickly, yet you really get a sense of the narrator’s desperation, her loss of self-control, and her fear. What would you do if you thought you were possessed by a demon? Who could you turn to? Who would listen?

 

A Head Full of Ghosts

by: Paul Tremblay

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Was teenager, Marjorie Barrett, a victim of demonic possession, or was she mentally ill? Years later, her sister looks back on their family’s dark past to unravel a tragic mystery. This book was full of suspense and chills. I absolutely loved it.

 

The Fisherman

by: John Langan

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Some might question my inclusion of The Fisherman here. It’s not about devils, or demons, or Hell. The Fisherman tells the tale an ancient evil capable of possessing humans, and manipulating them through their grief and sadness. Sounds pretty demonic, right? This is a slow-moving, crawl-under-your-skin-and-stay-there sort of book. I had to include it on the list.

 

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1)

by: Jonathan L. Howard

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I’ll admit, this book was not exactly my cup of tea. Not every book is going to become a personal favorite. But I see the value of Johannes Cabal for lovers of supernatural fantasy and dark comedy. It’s a lighthearted adventure through Hell and back, and especially if you love a good series, this might be a better match for you than it was for me. It did make me laugh a bit, and I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. There are several more books to follow this one, including: Johannes Cabal the Detective, Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute, The Brothers Cabal, Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer, and The Fall of The House of Cabal.

 

Cassie Kills

by: Tim Miller

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I don’t read much extreme horror. And I’m certain that statement is something extreme horror authors hear all the time and get sick of hearing, but hey, as sub-genres go, it’s simply not for everyone. That being said, I picked up a copy of Cassie Kills because I admire the author’s imagination and energy. It was a dark and depraved read, and kept me entertained throughout. I’m told some of the more graphic parts were edited out to meet Amazon’s requirements, but this was graphic enough for me as-is! A sick revenge story and a journey through a world worse than Hell.

 

Needful Things

by: Stephen King

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This is an oldie but a goodie. To be honest, I didn’t read much King in my youth. I didn’t have the patience for his story layers and – let’s face it – the enormous word counts! I’ve been reading him more in my thirties, and so far, this one ranks among my favorites. Store owner, Mr. Gaunt, is everything you could ask for in a Devil. Sly, experienced, charming, mystical, and terrifying. The shop he just opened up in Castle Rock has something for everyone. And I mean everyone. Won’t you step inside?

 

So there you have it. The six most devilish books I’ve read lately. Feel free to comment with your own devilish suggestions.

 

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Interview with William Gorman, author of Blackwater Val

Blackwater Val is William Gorman’s first novel, but I never would have guessed that while reading. Keeping a steady pace, chock-full of enthralling plot layers and a strong, believable cast, this book reads like the author is a well-seasoned pro. Set in the year 2000, main character Richard Franklin must return to his hometown in Blackwater Valley, Illinois after a hit-and-run accident takes the life of his beloved wife and leaves him to raise their daughter, Katie, all alone. Little Katie, who sees and hears and knows things the rest of us cannot. Little Katie, whose dark curse and innocence left me pondering… If all the abused, mistreated, and murdered humans could speak to us long after death, we might never get a moment of peace. But in this darkness, there is a light, a strength that might hold hope for a small town, sinking into madness in the grips of something very old and very evil. Blackwater Val delivers on every emotional level: depth, compassion, suspense, mystery, fear, revulsion, and action. I highly recommend this book for all lovers of dark fiction.

William Gorman was kind enough to answer some interview questions for me, so without further ado, let’s meet the author. And consider grabbing a copy of Blackwater Val while you’re here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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How long have you been writing?

Since I was in grade school, scribbling out ghost stories and vampire and werewolf stories in my loose-leaf notebook for certain unlucky classmates to read—the teachers loved that. I started getting stories published in the various small press magazines that were around in the ’80s and ’90s, then I put out Ghost Whispers: Tales from Haunted Midway, a collection of weird legends and ghostlore from my Illinois hometown. The local library there approached me shortly after about doing some bus tours and spooky cemetery walks, and they’ve been running ever since. The events all used to be free, but I hear they’re charging people now . . . so someone is making money. Sure isn’t me!

What draws you to dark fiction?

The imagery, I guess. The danger involved. In dark fiction there’s always something lurking just out of the light, something that when done correctly should haunt you long after you’re done reading it. A dark, supernatural side of our own reality. But for me it has to have characters that I care about; there also has to be some kind of justice in the end. The villains have to get their comeuppance, or else it’s too much like real life, where people get away with heinous deeds all the time.

Did you encounter any rough patches while penning your first novel? If so, how did you overcome them?

The ending was difficult. Pulling everything together and tying it up in a way that satisfied me and answered the questions. Mostly plain old procrastination is the hardest thing to overcome—it’s the true enemy. Just working through and actually getting the writing done each day. It’s tough, with all of today’s distractions.

In what ways have you grown as an author since deciding to become one?

I had to grow before I could even write Blackwater Val. I learned that I wasn’t ready to tell this story in my 20s or 30s, when I first tried writing it. I wasn’t mature enough. I hadn’t lived through enough yet to really know what the book was all about. Only later on, after I’d grown and found my own voice as an author, was I able to tell the story I wanted to tell.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure I have one. Finishing the novel ranks high, getting it published by Crystal Lake and actually getting it out there. Hmm . . . does making it through the ’80s alive count? I don’t know.

Do your personal experiences tend to affect your characters?

Yes, absolutely. The characters are all fictitious, but they are greatly influenced by things that have happened to me. So yes, my experiences affect the way my characters think and speak and how they act in any given situation.

Which authors do you most like to read for personal pleasure?

I’m always reading things by Stephen King, of course. I love going back and rereading his classics. Lovecraft and Bradbury, too. I like the old Sherlock Holmes tales by Conan Doyle. And every summer I make sure to read T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies—I just heard he’s finally going to finish a book he started decades ago, so that should be fun. If it happens!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing the follow-up to Blackwater Val, the sequel to it. It’s called The Rose Glass, and within the pages we get to see how Katie has grown into a young woman. And how much her powers have grown, as well.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me at  http://williamgorman.weebly.com/ for right now. The site has links to my Amazon page and to Crystal Lake Publishing, my blog and other interviews, and I’ll be upgrading and adding to it as times goes on.

You can pick up a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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