I’m a scaredy-cat, always have been, and I doubt that’s ever going to change. But when I saw Jeffrey Keetan‘s review of Hell, I checked out the blurb, found it incredibly interesting, tried to find a copy on Amazon, couldn’t find it, reached out to the author, and Tom Lewis was actually kind enough to get back to me and give me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
(Insert deep breath here).
What followed was a day and a half of intense page-turning as I delved into the story of the Possession and Exorcism of Cassie Stevens. I’m going to admit that I did have a few nightmares in the nights that followed. Hell corroborates that unwelcome but always-there feeling that comes over you when night falls and the lights are turned out – something is lurking in the shadows.
Length: 374 pages
After a devastating personal loss, young Cassie finds herself pulled into the macabre world of darkness, death, and beyond. What starts as curiosity ends with Cassie getting addicted to drugs and partaking in strange activities… until she dies in an accident. Revived 20 minutes later, Cassie recovers and becomes her normal, pre-goth self. And then strange things start to happen around her. Cassie knows something is watching her from the shadows, something that is not just around her but inside her, and something that she’d managed to get away from when she’d been revived. But the thing within her is not ready to let go yet… not until it claims what is rightfully its – Cassie’s life.
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
Plot: 7 out of 10
Characterization: 8 out of 10
Primary Element: 8 out of 10, for its ability to re-enforce the fear of the dark
Writing Style: 8 out of 10
Part of a Series: No
The way Tom Lewis manages to weave a story that is not in-your-face scary for the most part but still manages to scare the heck out of you by building on fears inherent in people.
What I Liked:
The characterization, the insight into a whole different lifestyle, and the story itself. There was also a relatively large dose of gore, which might not be up everyone’s alley, but definitely added a whole other layer of ‘disturbing’ and ‘creepy’ to the book and really rounded it off as a horror.
What I Didn’t Like:
Some arcs weren’t closed or explained, and although they didn’t greatly affect the story-line, the addition probably would have made it even more intriguing. Also, the use of ‘phenomena’ instead of ‘phenomenon’. It’s commonly used, I know, but the lack of distinction between the plural and singular has always been a pet peeve of mine.
Who Should Read It:
Fans of horror, especially those who like Stephen King’s work. Hell has certain elements that are very reminiscent of King’s work, especially the ability of the story to make you extremely aware of every tiny sound, want to constantly look over your shoulder because you feel like someone’s right there, and avoid the darkness for a few days.
Who Should Avoid:
People who tend to avoid horror in general because the stories stay with them for too long. Hell will stay with you for a few nights for sure, so proceed with caution.
Read It For:
Its unapologetically gory take on things satanic and disturbing, and to remind yourself that sometimes, primal fears are unavoidable and un-overcomeable.
A big, big thank you to Tom Lewis, the author of Hell: The Possession and Exorcism of Cassie Stevens, for agreeing to give me a copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend his work to fans of horror, and read more of it myself (albeit with long non-horror periods in the middle).
Which is your favorite horror book? Let us know in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping by!