Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
This book is made up of two novelettes/short stories(?) within a story, but let’s not get bogged down with the details.
Both tales revolve around strange happenings in small town America; a perfect setting for horror stories. Story 1, Sophan, involves a seemingly jolly old Vietnamese guy, Mr Trung, who lives in the peaceful town, famous for his blueberries that everyone helps themselves to before leaving some money in the honesty box.
He’s a lovely old man, loved and respected by everyone, except Jake. Jake is a little different than the other kids he hangs around with, there’s something a little off about him. It could be down to his abusive father, though. OK, it’s definitely that. But surely there’s a reason for his father’s behaviour? Could it be to do with Mr Trung?
When the group of kids visit the yard sale they talk with Mr Trung, where he shows them an ancient spiritual ‘game’ where the ‘players’ learn about their fate. There’s something very unnerving about Mr Trung as he tells them of the mystical history of his people. Jake isn’t convinced. He has a score to settle with Mr Trung.
Nate, the story’s narrator, discovers for himself that something is very strange indeed about this old guy. Something so strange he tries to convince himself he’s seeing things. But alas, he isn’t. There’s a dark secret hidden in Mr Trung’s koi pond, something malevolent and hungry.
Story 2, The Man in Yellow, takes place just down the road from Sophan, in a now-deserted town. A weird, creepy guy appears at the local church, posing as some kind of preacher. The town seemed hooked on his every word. All except Mike, son of the pastor and suffering from cerebral palsy. Mike senses the evil in this yellow guy.
The man promises to heal the afflicted, something Mike would surely do anything for. But what is the cost? Surrendering your life to some otherworldly God-type being with tentacles and all? Doesn’t sound that great really.
This story really creeped me out, the blackouts Mike suffers are as disorientating to the reader as they are to the narrator. You know something bad is going to go down, and when the whole town succumbs to Monsieur Jaune, it’s up to Mike to do something.
He does, but is it already too late for him?
These two stories flashed by in no time. The writing relays the settings of the two towns perfectly, and the characters seem real and believable. It’s Stephen King-esque in its execution, but more ‘Revival King’ with its subject matter.
I’m a new visitor to the towns from Kevin Lucia’s mind, but there are more collections out there of his that I’m now very keen to experience.
If you’re a fellow newbie then this seems like a great place to start.
It’s Available Now.
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.