When artistry and megalomania combine…
Apocalypse novels feel like some of the hardest to approach. While horror is the best suited genre for the subject matter for obvious reasons, it takes a talent to balance the line of not being so nihilistic as to drag the reader down into the depths of despair — fiction writing is many things but it is still a form of entertainment — and what better lens to use to dance this line than art and its creators?
Andy Marino is quickly proving himself to be one of the freshest and darkest voices in horror fiction. Where his debut, the Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess, twisted addiction and possession into one nightmarish battle, It Rides A Pale Horse turns a new angle on a fresh yet ancient anxiety: the super-rich bringing about destruction for their own gleefully grim entertainment.
Marino’s newest is comfortably positioned somewhere between Texas Chain Saw Massacre and AHS: Apocalypse. The author proves himself more than adept at shifting from heartwreching to stomach churning in the space of a few words, all while leaving you with a sense of dread that amounts to feeling as though you have peeked in on something that will more than leave its mark.
Part family drama, part unapologetic body horror, Pale Horse is the perfect read for a cold October night — provided you’re willing to encounter books that may or may not be crafted from skin and suffering and creatures whose wails can sink deep enough into the fiber of your brain to leave you both insane and resigned to the gaping maw of death.
Marino’s choice to center the story on artists feels like just the right move. After all, who better to see between the lines of human suffering and bring it into light than a creative mind able to open itself and be guided purely on instinct and feel, and who better to be the instruments of exploitation than the mindlessly uber-rich, playing games who’s rules and consequences they can hardly comprehend?
There is a great deal to love about Marino’s nihilistic story of the lengths we’ll go and losses we’ll accept to become the person we’re meant to be and save the people we’re meant to save. He plumbs the depths of suffering and depravity alike, digging into created legends inspired by crowd-sourced fear with the lightest touch of folk horror and perversion of religious mythos to create the perfect bone-deep horror for a crisp winter’s night.
I would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It Rides A Pale Horse is in bookstores and online now from Redhook Publishing.