Review Blog

Oct 25 2013

The beckoning by Paul Collins

cover image

Damnation Books LLC, 2013. ISBN 9781629290348.
(Age: Adult - 16+) Recommended. Horror. Thriller. Cults. Psychic powers. When Matt Brannigan's family is threatened and his daughter Briony targeted by the Zarathrustan cult guru, Brother Desmond, he has to take action. Briony is lured to the Zarathrustan headquarters at Modewood, a mansion near Shipwreck Coast, named for the high number of tragic deaths occurring in the area, and Matt discovers that he has no power legally or with the police to get his daughter to return home. With psychic Clarissa Pike he enters the cult's headquarters in an attempt to rescue her and all hell breaks loose.
In Brother Desmond, Collins has created a truly evil and frightening villain, who wants to conquer the world. He has encountered Briony when she was very young and is convinced that her psychic powers will give him the power that he needs to achieve his goals. He beckons her to Modewood, and although she is aware of his intentions, finds it difficult to keep him at bay. The exploration of cults and how individuals are manipulated by a charismatic leader, brainwashing and drugs is enlightening and forms an alarming background to the story. The story resonates because it is easy to imagine how young teens could be lured into a cult and how difficult it is to get them away.
Collins builds up the suspense with his descriptions of Modewood, a gloomy gothic house and all the deaths that have happened on the Shipwreck coast. Then it is the action and the truly terrifying events that overtake Matt and Clarissa when they try to enter Modewood that dominate the story. Brother Desmond attacks them with their worst nightmares and each episode left me gasping for air as the couple battle the devil in a surreal landscape.
Clever plotting, horrifying action, a dark gothic mansion and great characters make this a very exciting read for those who like horror.
Pat Pledger

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