After the loss of a child along with a slew of agonizing misfortunes, Nick and Jess decide to end their lives. Unable to cope with the misery that fills their days, they commit one last act together and die in loving relief. But when Nick wakes up, he soon realizes that death isn’t the gentle darkness he expected. Panicked and horrified, he struggles to understand the twisted abominations and hellish world he’s now trapped in…
I cannot rave enough about this book. I’ve sat on writing this review for a few months now, simply because after reading this, the only thing I could think to say was “what. the. f*ck.”
As many other readers, I was first introduced to Elias’ work through the NoSleep Podcast’s masterful reading of his short story “Feed the Pig” (S07E09 – if you’re interested in reading this book, I highly recommend you go listen to that first!). Unsettling, shocking, disturbing, are all words too light to describe this story.
Let’s be clear: I’ve been a horror/gore fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen/read a lot of weird sh*t, and not a lot phases me anymore. The “Feed the Pig” reading left me sitting in shock at my kitchen table, unsure now of what to do with the cloth nappy I’d been folding, staring blankly at my hands, wondering “what the f*ck did I just listen to?!”. When it was announced on that same podcast that Elias had released a full-length novel, and extension of his now (in?)famous story, I couldn’t order it fast enough.
Someone else pointed out: this book comes with all the trigger warnings. ALL of them. There are moments where I would sit there and physically cringe through the passage I was reading, or otherwise would have to put the book down and go for a walk. This book, at times, actually, physically distressed me. Witherow’s descriptive skills are horrifying. He succeeds in creating an image in your head that will stay firmly planted there for weeks.
The author’s twitter bio reads “trying my best to breathe new life into the horror genre, one story at a time”. This book greatly surpasses that aim. This book is Witherow, à la Dr. Frankenstein, cackling “IT’S ALIIIVE” whilst his monstrous creation awakens.
New life into the genre, indeed.