The Profane by Vincenzo Bilof
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
I’m not usually the biggest fan of religious themed stories. Although saying that, I haven’t really read that many, my first sentence being the reason for this. Of the few I have read, they always seem to revolve around the good God-loving guy battling the Lord of Hell, and winning. It all seems a bit predictable.
But I went into this book as a big fan of Vincenzo Bilof’s work, so I was very hopeful of it being something a little bit different. And man, it really was.
We all know the classic possession story; person gets infiltrated by a demon, heroic priest sorts everything out. But this story flips things on its thorn-crowned head. Here, Lana is the owner of a guardian angel who fills her very existence with love and selflessness. Enter the Satanic Priests to forcibly remove this entity and use its powers for their own evil schemes.
Sounds great, right? Oh it is!
I imagine the priests in this book to look like the band Ghost, in their first album incarnation. Pure, Hell-ingrained evil flows through their soulless bodies, as they sacrifice their very existence to serving their one true Lord, Lucifer.
Perhaps one of the main reasons I don’t dig religious stories is my lack of any belief. The whole premise is much less scary than something that, I believe, could happen. But saying that, I find old pictures of demons, of Satanic sacrifice, and devil worship kind of a bit fascinating. It’s why I love my black metal so much! And this book served my evil-seeking mind perfectly.
The writing is top notch, perfectly describing the desolate region of Hell, or the abyss as its called here. Images of maggots and rotting flesh and fires burning were expertly handled and very icky!
The priests live in an old castle with a torture tower appropriately named The Tower of Screams. The girls who they capture to drive the angels out of are kept in squalor, within rows of inhospitable cages housing them until their time is due. Think of the movie Martyrs and you’ll get the idea.
But not only is the castle home to the priests and their ‘subjects’, a legion of demonic monsters prowl the caverns below, the damned, with their harrowing bodies and lust for violence.
The gore on offer is visceral and stomach-churning. The beasts are described in just enough detail for them to remain mysterious and horrific, with the perfect amount left to the imagination. There is one – no, two – monstrosities who are equal parts disgusting and really cool.
The plot shifts back and forward between the present day and the characters’ pasts. Instead of following the story from start to finish, details are teasingly thrown in as the book thunders along. We see Lana not only as the victim she becomes, but the girl she used to be before these tragic events unfolded.
I’ve got this far without mentioning one of the nastiest bastards I’ve ever read about; Father Willard. A sociopathic Hell Priest who only lives to inflict devastating pain upon others. He feels nothing when he torments and kills. He’s a terrible human being, if he could actually be considered human. He’s horrible, but so intriguing. His backstory is related as the book goes on, not that you end up feeling for him, though.
I found myself loving this book more and more as I read on. And even now after finishing it, some of the scenes are ingrained in my memory like a maggot-infested, festering tumour.
You can probably kind of tell that I’m really recommending this book.
Check it out! 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.