Genre: Occult; Horror
On November 1, 1951, war hero John Ashton was promoted to detective. His first assignment: find the district attorney’s missing daughter. But his only lead is Alena Francon, a high society sculptor and socialite committed to Bellevue’s psychiatric facility.
Alena has a story for the new detective. A story so outlandish John Ashton refuses to heed the warning. Alena admits to incarnating Golem, a demonic force, into her statue. A devil so profound he’s infiltrated every part of New York’s infrastructure. Even worse, he uses children to serve as bodily hosts for his demonic army, unleashing a horde of devils into our world.
When Alena’s confidant, Annette Flemming, confirms the existence of Golem, John is sent on a collision course where fate and destiny spiral into peril, and the future of the human race hangs in the balance.
The Devil Is In The Details!
DISCLAIMER: Regardless of my own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, everything I read is reviewed without bias. It does not promote or entail endorsement of any certain view. It is judged for what it is: a work of fiction. Nonbias review does not include tolerance of of any clearly discriminating work, such as works promoting hate/violence against minorities.
While it is true that so much is going on with Golem that I’m not sure where to begin with this review, there’s a powerfully addictive quality to the story’s convolution. At several moments, I needed a break to decompress from this psychologically stressing read.
The mastery with which the book is written had me comparing the author to giants in the horror genre, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. I could most equate the experience as having the timeless, even poetic air of Poe with the depth and clever world-building of King.
As someone who finds difficulty in reading King due to his immensely detailed accounts, I want to note that outside of emotional stress, there was no difficulty with reading Golem. In any case, I cannot imagine anyone reading it and thinking of PD Alleva as anything less than an expert in his field.
Something strange I came to realize is that despite how perfect the story is, I don’t like any of the characters. Normally I comment on the likeability of characters should they have been real people or at least their likeability as per their intended role, but I find myself unable to say either here. It did not affect enjoyment of the book in the slightest and in fact, I believe added to the horror…because this wasn’t an “oh they’re shitty people so I don’t feel badly for them” situation.
They weren’t shitty, they were just…very human. It was almost like an introspection; a raw take on the intricacies of our ethics and moralities, our minds and our souls. This forced insight is complimented by the judgements of the other-worldly beings who point out our inherent flaws of weak bodies, selfish desires, emotional instability, and a lacking strength of will. Speaking of, the evil characters in the realm of likeability were also worthy of disgust for what they were.
It’s as if everything in the story is meant to outline bitter truths of our existence- the things we struggle with in reality- and then deepen the horror by having the characters face terrible supernatural threats beyond our control, who further define what we hate most about our race. While the psychological aspects are more pronounced, Golem also brings numerous gruesome scenes to life in addition to nauseating details which I will leave for you to discover. Truly horror at its finest.
A final note I would like to add is the use of Baphomet and related lore. Although in my personal beliefs, the figure does not hold any negativity, I was quite intrigued with how the author took things about representations of Baphomet and completely turn it on its head into something sinister.
More than that (and this is all conjecture, of course. I cannot presume that any of this is accurate to the author’s intent)- given the time period of the book (1950s), the Satanic rituals, pedophilic associations, and the involvement of the well-to-do, it seems that Golem could have even been inspired by the rise of Hollywood with all its legends of devil worship among the devilishly ambitions in exchange for wealth and fame. It could even align to some points of freemasonic history.
I was definitely blown away by this book and would wager that every horror fan will enjoy it. Throughout, there does seem to be a few genre tropes, but all of them are brought together in a way that keeps the originality and immersion of the story.
((review submitted to Amazon, Goodreads, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble))
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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