Ginger Nuts of Horror
I've been following Kristi DeMeester's progress as a writer since she first appeared on the old Shock Totem forums. We've had the pleasure of watching quite a few of our former "Totemites" do well for themselves- Damien Angelica Walters, Michael Wehunt, some cat named Adam Cesare. And we're quite proud of them . Kristi released and sold out of her chapbook, Split Tongues, published by Dim Shores last year. She has a collection in the works currently and this, her debut novel, drops in a few weeks. And let me tell you something. You needs all of these. Every. Single. one.
Beneath is the story of Cora, a reporter assigned a story about a snake-handling church in the rural south. She has a lot of baggage and issues from her own childhood and the church is more of a looming monster than a place of refuge. She reluctantly accepts the gig. She arrives to find a town in the midst of a dark transformation. Children are missing and adults are dying or disappearing. Things are slithering in the dark. A reclusive woman and her wayward daughter seem to be at the heart of it, not far from them is the minister of the church. A man who wears a mask of faith and guidance but who is in reality a darkly lost soul. All of these people and events are building and the soil they chose is quicksand and squirming. There is something terrible coming from underground and it's not very happy.
I absolutely loved this. It hit the sweet spot of almost 80's pulp horror with supremely weird fiction. It reminded me of Sarah Langan's The Keeper in some ways, not in story or style but in the repulsive and horrifying images that are thrust upon you as your turn these pages. The prose is poetic at times and hammer-blunt at others. The characters are layered and flawed, just like the rest of us.
This novel is going to propel DeMeester onto that list of authors you'll want to follow. I guarantee it.
Beneath is soon available from Word Horde.
When reporter Cora Mayburn is assigned to cover a story about a snake-handling cult in rural Appalachia, she is dismayed, for the world of cruel fundamentalist stricture, repression, glossolalia, and abuse is something she has long since put behind her in favor of a more tolerant urban existence. But she accepts the assignment, dredging up long-buried memories as she seeks the truth.