Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Beckoning by Paul Collins

The Beckoning by Paul Collins is a contemporary horror novel set in Warrnambool and Melbourne. Featuring a satanic cult, lots of psychic weirdness and plenty of death. Blurb:
When evil intent is just the beginning...

Matt Brannigan is a lawyer living on the edge. His daughter, Briony is psychic and trouble shadows his family wherever they go.

Cult guru Brother Desmond knows that the power within Briony is the remaining key he needs to enter the next dimension. Once he controls this, he will have access to all that is presently denied him.

When Briony is indoctrinated into the Zarathustrans, Matt and psychic Clarissa Pike enter the cult’s headquarters under the cover of night to rescue her.

So begins Armageddon…
This book was not for me. Followers of this blog will probably have noticed my quest to read more Australian horror books. For the most part, that's been a successful venture and I've read some excellent books. In general, they've been more subtle than The Beckoning, which was competently written, but the content was not my thing. I have to admit, it was the kind of thing I was into in my early teens but apparently not so much any more. Ultimately, I found the exciting bits dull and the horrific bits uninteresting. I strongly suspect others' mileage will vary.

The Beckoning is written in omniscient third person. There was more head-hopping than I'm used to, but I have to say it was done well and I was generally not confused about who was thinking what. However, I was slightly confused at the start as to who the main characters were. Because it took me a while to work out, I didn't feel very attached to anyone which, unfortunately, made their life-threatening situations less exciting.

I did like that it was set in Australia — I've been particularly enjoying Australian-set books of late — although I was a bit disappointed to see it "translated" into American English. It's jarring to see an Australian teenager talking about her "cell" phone. Of course, that's less of an issue with the book itself and more the (location of the) publisher.

As I've said, this book was not for me, but I think people into psychic antichrist cult type books will enjoy it. And I think it would probably work as a movie. Fans of straightforward horror, with violence, creepy cult leaders and potentially world-ending doom will probably enjoy this one more than I did.

3 / 5 stars

First published: September 2013, Damnation Books
Series: Don't think so.
Format read: e-Review Copy
Source: A bit convoluted, but the author via a mutual friend
Challenges: Aussie Horror Reading Challenge

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