Thrilling new book review by guest, author and horror afficianado…Theresa Braun!
The Gist of the Story
Jim works at a cemetery and discovers a series of mangled bodies. (If you like gore, you’ll get your fix rather quickly). Although Jim doesn’t commit these crimes, he tells us he’s responsible for them nonetheless. That means he’s somehow connected to the monsters that lurk amidst the buried bodies. Jim turns to Father Powers for help—and, why not? He’s not only a holy man running the church, but has been in charge of the entire property for ages. Consequently, this priest knows all about the secrets underground. Apparently, there’s a hidden treasure capable of changing the consciousness of the entire planet.
However, there’s at least one other secret the clergyman isn’t confessing. Meanwhile, Jim faces his horrific fate at the “hands” of the hideous things in the earth (which are very creatively depicted! Be prepared to have to hold down your last meal!) And, since Jim is a rather despicable character, we revel in his demise.
Jasper Bark has put his own fascinating spin on the myth of the Byregen-Beorden and the goddess Monanom. Along the way, he takes us on a disturbing joy ride. There are repulsive descriptions that satisfy, but there is also some twisted sexual content—and it isn’t just there for shock value. Through the sexual/creation imagery, we can glean a deeper layer of meaning. For instance, Jim’s issues with women play out as he refuses to become a father; however, his role in creating these supernatural beings is the ultimate joke on him as he inadvertently becomes the worst kind of parent.
Bark is toying with the assumption that only women give birth. The concept of life and death is also turned on its ear. For example, Jim at one point longs to be back in his mother’s womb. Furthermore, the dead are reborn, and so is Jim—but not in a way you’d expect. And, all of this creation is happening in the graveyard. It’s brilliant.
I respect that Bark takes risks in his storytelling. In addition, his use of non-linear time is effective. There is also some subtle foreshadowing at the beginning. Careful readers should appreciate the clues. I wrestled with whether or not I wanted Jim to be more likable/redeemable—and I actually love that Bark made me consider that. The only detail that made me stop and think about plausibility is when Jim is somehow able to identify Cundle’s disemboweled organs. That’s some good detective work!
All joking aside, I am willing to buy into everything else. I truly enjoyed “Run to Ground.” It delivers all that is horror, and then some.
4 out of 5 Stars