Before we get to this fantastic novella, The Sadist’s Bible, I would like to officially welcome Theresa Braun to the Reads & Reels team.
Published author, reviewer and horror aficionado, Theresa Braun will be joining me on Reads & Reels! She contributes wonderful things so often, I just had to invite her along for the ride. You guys will love her fresh voice and passion for all things ghoulish and horrific.
The Sadist’s Bible
I stumbled upon The Sadist’s Bible by Nicole Cushing on a list of recommended horror books. Noting that she has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award and has been honorably mentioned in a few “best horror” publications, I knew her work would be worth the read.
How well do you know the people you chat with on a social network?
Living in a repressed Bible Belt Community, Ellie fears coming to terms with her lesbian feelings that she has denied for so many years. Not able to face her husband and her church, and really even herself, she turns to a secret online network where she looks for someone to fulfill a suicide pact. If she can’t truly be who she is, there is really no point in living in constant guilt. Online, she finds Lori who is young and even more tormented. The two women vow to meet in a hotel so they can indulge in sex and torture before they kill themselves. But, there is a force that binds them, one they don’t really fully understand. Is He God or the Devil himself, calling them to surrender to their most depraved and unimaginable desires? It’s the stuff horrific nightmares are made of…
Mature content, sexually explicit, disturbing scenes. 18+
This story is extremely well-written and edited, which is in itself is a treat. There is a slow built of characterization that is achieved through alternating points of view, which I think is very effective. We feel for Ellie, who is trapped in a world where other people’s opinions and judgements are emotionally crippling and soul crushing. The constant threat of suicide hovers in the story, as we wonder if the women will really go through with it. Might they change their minds once they meet each other and possibly find the love, happiness, and acceptance that they so desperately crave? But, Lori has some secrets that Ellie might not approve of, that make the reader question Lori’s sanity. In fact, both women seem to descend into madness. That is the thrill of this read. We are taken with them into what can only be described as a disturbing hell. By the end of the tale, we can’t look away. Vivid descriptions of this place, that may be metaphorical or real (you decide), are at the same time so heinous and so mesmerizing that I found myself engulfed by Cushing’s words. She creates such a fantastic world of depravity that I couldn’t put the story down. I was repulsed and fascinated simultaneously. This story is bound to touch upon the guilt and the private places in all of us, things we might not want to admit to others or even ourselves. Cushing’s ability to do that is remarkable.
Note: This novella is not for the squeamish.