Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review: Children of Chaos by Greg Gifune

Children of Chaos
• Paperback: 308 pages
• Publisher: Delirium Books

I don’t say the word masterpiece lightly, this novel is pretty close to a perfect horror novel. It has a brilliant concept and it was enough to make buy immediately. Over the years I heard things about this author but it was the concept that really intrigued me. Basically this novel is a modern re-telling of the Joseph Conrad classic “The Heart of Darkness” set in north Mexico in the dessert outside of Tijuana.

Cool concept for a novel. The prologue reminded me of Clive Barker and Ray Bardbury, the set up three boys involved in the murder of a strange magical seeing man hide the bizarre looking book that the strange man is holding. As adults thirty years later the main character Phillip is hired by his childhood friend’s mother to track down him down in mexico. He is not just hangin down in Mexico he has started a cult and has followers.

You see where this is going. Gifune has created a chilling brutal and dark horror epic that follows Phillip on his journey to discover the awful truth. The novel is creepy, action filled and operates slickly on every level. What impressed me was how vivid the story was and I could really feel the characters terror.

If I were to look for weakness or holes I can only think of two minor ones. There are times I wish the novel was not written in first person, but I am rarely a fan of first person. The only real problem I have with Children of Chaos is the Phillip being an author. To me it doesn’t serve the story and I feel if we are going to have a writer character there should be a good reason for it at this point.

These are minor problems; this is one of the strongest horror novels I have read so far this year. That is saying a lot. This year I have already read new releases like Lisa Morton’s Castle of Los Angeles and Cody Goodfellow’s Perfect Union. Those were prime examples of new generation of strong horror writers hitting their stride. This novel like those others I mentioned proves that our generation of writers still has vital and important works to add to the genre. I am excited to explore Gifune’s work further.

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