HellBound Books Publishing LLC
July 29, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
WOW! Craig Stewart has written and HellBound Books have released one hell of a monster! Worship Me is a big and powerful book that does what Horror novels are supposed to do on many levels. Number one, it scares the crap out of you. Number two, it keeps you fully engaged for the entire length of the book (sadly, a rare quality these days). From start to finish, you need to turn the page and find out what happens next. Number three, Worship Me is totally believable. This could happen in any small town, where the majority of people attend the same church and the ones who don’t aren’t going to go looking for the missing. Number four, Stewart addresses many important social issues including: domestic violence, group intelligence, same sex love, and how low people will go to save their own asses.
As people are heading into St. Paul’s United Church for Sunday service, something big and powerful is waking up in the forest nearby. It is very old and has waited a long time to be noticed. Instead even the Burward Forest, where it lives, has been horribly neglected. But this Sunday, the Behemoth will be noticed, no matter what.
Meanwhile, at the church, many levels of human drama are in high gear. There’s lonely, misunderstood Clara doing her best to get the church ready on time. No one seems to appreciate what she does or her kindness, including her own mother. Then Angela shows up, much to the delight of the church vultures who can’t wait to start the pecking party. Her husband disappeared months ago and everyone is enjoying it. Young love is blooming between Chris and Matthew who long for each other but are afraid of what everyone will say and do if they’re found out.
Then the regularity of Sunday is blasted to pieces as Angela’s husband shows up during services. He is filthy, naked, and covered with decorative scars. Ok, that’s weird, but everyone is delighted to have Rick back in the fold. They go into celebration mode and decide to have a picnic while Angela is horrified. She needs to escape with her son, Alex! But before they can, the world goes off the rails. Rick claims the church as his own and tells the congregation that it’s time to worship a new God. He also produces some very detailed examples of what will happen to those who don’t follow his orders. The people are trapped in the church and given two days to sacrifice a child to the Behemoth. If they don’t he will destroy them all.
Like I said, the book keeps rolling at perfect pace. Someone tries to escape the church, only to be completely destroyed. Angela emerges as an unlikely leader of the frightened church people, but soon she is challenged and discredited. As we watch things fall apart amazingly fast inside the church, we also see that the outcasts are the ones who actually try to improve the situation. The popular folk just make things worse and worse. Chris sacrifices his life to try and save everyone. Bad, broken Angela keeps trying to counterattack and encourage people towards sane, kind thinking. Unfortunately, Dorothy-an elder of the church goes to town brainwashing people. She encourages them to surrender a particular child. Alex is Rick and Angela’s son. Soon everyone decides that he deserves to die.
There is a battle royal between the forces of good and evil, but the whole thing is twisted by the events that unfold in the book. I’m not going to reveal them all here and be a spoiler! But it comes to the point where the terms good and evil lose their normal meanings. The Behemoth definitely exists and is amazingly huge. It appeals to the one group that nobody really pays much attention to: the children. In the last quarter of the book, things move rocket fast and constantly flip-flop. When you make it to the absolute ending, it will blow you away!
Worship Me is a great read! I highly recommend this book to all of our readers! There is some gore and profanity, but nothing unexpected in a Horror novel. Craig Stewart has found the perfect balance to engage all our senses without overloading them to the point of distraction. We really care about the characters and what’s going to happen next. Do yourself a solid and grab a copy of Worship Me today!
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