CBR13Bingo – Travel
(Trigger Warning: sexual violence)
One of my favorite tropes that happens in movies is when a character starts to realize that maybe their nextdoor neighbor is a vampire or whatever, and so they go to the library and get some giant book about vampires, and in one chapter there’s all the relevant information right there, and even a few illustrations to go with it that looks almost exactly like the character we’ve seen on screen. Crazy!
Recent movies and books have of course moved this search online, and I still love how stupid and janky those searches are. It happens in that movie Sinister to the most stupid effect, taking a really creepy movie and giving it a too pat feel.
Anyway, what’s great about this book is that while world-changing supernatural events are occuring, there’s no internet to guide any one and the sharing of information is quite limited, so there’s this real dread of the world coming to an end, and little feel like much can be done about it.
We start the novel off with the pagan god Baal being turned back in the Holy Land. We jump forward to contemporary America (1970s) where a young married couple is struggling. The wife is attacked and becomes pregnant. She’s also scarred with super heated handprints. The child is clearly off, and the marriage is quickly dissolving, and in one swift scene the man attacks the woman, and she kills him. We then jump to an orphanage where the young boy, who refuses to go by anything other than Baal (I am Baal! He says), clearly has some dark influence on his classmates. More violence, more jump cuts.
Baal later is amassing power in the Kuwaiti desert, when we get the main thrust of the novel. A priest and scholar joins forces with a mysterious traveler to again rid the world of the dangers of Baal.
The book is interesting and not a little orientialist, and the issue throughout though is one of a youngish writers figuring things out. There’s big ideas here, solid writing, and terrible pacing and scope.