Body of Christ by Mark Matthews
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
Well it’s not. Instead, it’s full-on weird and disturbing. Let me hear a Hallelujah!!
The story follows two kids, neighbours, each having lost a parent. Faith’s mom died in a car accident, and Keagan’s dad was shot by some angry cops. There are reasons for this shooting but I’m not going to talk about them here.
What’s worse is Faith and Keagan witness these agonising deaths first hand, which is really going to mess with a developing brain.
So these two main characters are grieving, obviously, but are unable to share their loss with anyone, least of all their surviving parents. It doesn’t take long for this novella to really pull on those blackened heart sinews, and immediately you’re with these kids for every step of their tortured journeys.
And that’s when the weirdness begins. Faith starts hearing a voice. It speaks to her once a month, around the time that thing happens in girls once a month. She is strangely driven to collect and keep her unwanted sanitary waste, as she feels the life inside it craves salvation. She then proceeds to bury these wasted eggs in a miniature graveyard.
I say weird, and it sounds it from that description. But due to the loss Faith has suffered, preserving the lives inside her seems a fitting memorial to the life of her mother.
Keagan’s way of coping, though…woah! When he sees his father shot to shit, he instinctively rescues a piece of him from the ground; it’s pink and squishy and indiscernible, but it’s part of his dad. He decides to add this to his collection of keepsakes in his wardrobe. Again, the way the story is told, this doesn’t seem as strange as described here.
Faith’s dad is distant and quiet, Keagan’s mom is a religious nut-job; see how this is the first mention of the religion angle? Keagan’s dad, before he died, had urged him to not take his holy communion, something his mom insists on. Following his dad’s wishes and without wanting to piss off Mom, he stealthily removes the wafers from his mouth in church, now all soggy, and keeps them in a bag along with his bit of Dad.
This being a novella, the story flies by. It’s after this aforementioned part that things become genuinely creepy. So I won’t mention them, it’s best you experience them for yourself.
What this book does so well is incorporate genuinely empathetic characters with an unnerving and disturbing background of horror. I just wanted to give those kids a hug and tell them everything is OK. But of course, everything isn’t.
So no God Vs Devil higher beings doing battle for deliverance or damnation around here; just one chilling story of grief, loneliness, and fucked-up-iness.
So yeah, highly recommended!
Check it out!
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
His debut novella, An Army of Skin is available now.