Noir/Horror has a new ‘master’… his name is Richard Godwin
Having been introduced to Richard’s dark telling of the depravity the human soul is capable of in his Pony Equus stories in Pulp Metal Magazine, I thought I was prepared for Apostle Rising… oh, foolish girl!
The third night in, reading Apostle Rising, I awoke in that sinister, slivery hour between midnight and pre-dawn… from a horrible nightmare… heart pounding in my chest, body drenched in sweat and a scream threatening to spill over my lips… an itching between my shoulder blades and the image of a dark, silvery blade dripping with blood locked in my brain. Oh… my… god!
Yes… Apostle Rising is THAT good!
Apostle Rising is a police procedural/psychological thriller of the first order… dark, twisted and suspenseful. Richard gives nothing away in his narrative… no red herrings… no leading one down the garden path. From the very first page, one knows this is not going to be a pretty ride. Richard’s writing has a dark, sinister feel that, for fans of crime/horror, is irresistible to put down and impossible to ignore. His rich, dark, imaginative prose draws one in much like one of those water vortices in the northern Atlantic… undeniably powerful and compelling.
Ahh… but, we were talking about a novel, not water phenomena, weren’t we?
More than a quarter century previous, Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle of the Metropolitan police was unable to mark ‘closed’ to the Woodlands Killer case; a case which almost destroyed Castle’s career and left him with deep psychological scars.
The ghosts of those long unsolved murders from decades past still haunt Frank, and now with what appears to be a copycat killer on the loose, DCI Castle, along with his new partner, DI Jacki Stone, is once again drawn into a madman’s dark desires and lusts.
I am trying to be careful here, and not reveal too much, so… this might be a good place to add a SPOILER ALERT! Proceed at your own risk… you have been warned!
As the body count mounts, Castle and Stone become enmeshed in a nightmare that may very well end both their careers, as well as Jacki’s marriage. At times, Frank seems either unaware or unable (or, unwilling?) to escape the monster’s(s) influence, so blind has he become in his singular quest to bring a killer to justice and redeem himself.
Castle’s ‘custom’ with the ‘ladies of the night’ reveals not only the frailty of his psyche, but also his determination to see justice… at whatever cost!
Will Frank become the monster he seeks to destroy? That is a question the reader is forced to ask themselves, as we watch helplessly, the dark metamorphosis of a once proud and honourable man. DCI Castle seems only too willing to cross the line between good and evil in a desperate attempt to stop a madman.
One wants (perhaps, though… this is only me)… feels the need to… to put the book down occasionally… if only to give their mind a brief respite from the tension… the dark horror… the mesmerizing litany of the mysterious Order’s perverted agenda… the stark look into the mind of a killer(s) so lost in his (?) own twisted, evil psychosis that one feels a shiver of fear run down their spine, and wonders… not for the first time, perhaps… if they remembered to set the dead-bolt.
The dark-haired girl tried to run… escape… but the air surrounding her was thick… it had a weight that pulled her down…
Oops! Sorry… little flashback to that nightmare I had earlier (shudder).
Too often in reviews, comparisons between authors come out sounding trite or forced… I tend to stay away from them myself, unless…
Apostle Rising is how [Stephen] King would write if he did noir… the relentless, escalating horror of Richard’s deftly written prose leaves one on the edge… breathless… having serious second thoughts perhaps, about taking that evening walk unaccompanied.
Engrossing, beautifully written horror… with the technical detail of a first class police procedural, Apostle Rising is a ‘must-read’ for any fan of crime fiction or horror.
A final thought on Richard Godwin’s debut novel –
I have read countless books, seen countless movies… the ‘monsters’ in those pale in comparison to the walking evil in Apostle Rising.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
26 December 2011