#Horror Review: Worship Me by Craig Stewart

Just how dark is Worship Me by Craig Stewart? Well, it's about as dark as a dead monster's soul, rotting for eons, trapped inside a black coffin, so deep beneath the Earth that the light of day may as well be a myth. It is so dark, it's brilliant, challenging just about every assumption you have about the genre.

You know that unwritten rule about sticking with your primary POV character? Forget it. Everybody here is expendable. How about that cliché where churches are sanctuaries from evil? Forget that too. St. Paul's United Church is not a refuge, it's a horrifying prison. Oh, and what about the trope of the 'good' child, the one who's special innocence is destined to save the day? Yup, forget that as well. Sure, there are some kids who stand up and try to take on that role, but . . . well, some sacrifices are different than others.

Worship Me is largely populated by unlikeable characters, but that's actually refreshing. They're all ordinarily human, imperfect souls whose only common bond is the church they share. There are a few secrets, but this isn't one of those books where a shattering heart-felt revelation will save the world. Sure, there are a few characters who you suspect might be of significance, but don't get too attached to those suspicions because bad things happen, and they happen fast.

As for what the story is about, it's pretty simple. A missing husband returns to proclaim the worship of an ancient entity, and he gives his fellow parishioners two days to choose which of their children they will sacrifice to it. Just to ensure they know he's serious, he performs a few hellish miracles, before leaving them trapped inside. Attempts at escape don't end well, and it doesn't take long before the good people of St. Paul's United Church begin to turn on one another.

This is a dark tale of supernatural horror, but it is the darkness of the human soul that makes it truly chilling. It's relentless in its terror, and glimpses of light and love are only there to be cruelly quashed. As for the finale - where, so often, horror falls flat for me - Stewart builds a perfect climax, and then layers on not just one, but several twists in the epilog. If you want a story that will give you chills, something to enjoy as you ready for Halloween, Worship Me is a perfect read. Be warned, however, it may have you second-guessing church next weekend.

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by HellBound Books Publishing LLC

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the author in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.