If you like your horror novels soft and gushy on the inside, your characters full of charm and redeemable qualities, and your plot lines strung along from point A to B to C, then go ahead and pass on this one. For anyone looking for something completely different, you’ve found your next read.
Cruelty, by Edward Lorn, is a magnus opus of a novel, with one of the most riveting openings I’ve read in a long time. Lorn wasn’t on my radar back when he released these as serials, so my review will treat this as a complete work rather than its individual parts. The set-up is daunting, with the back splash of a psychotic killer wearing a baby doll’s mask.
Or maybe it’s not a mask.
And maybe that’s not flesh beneath its clothing …
Told from myriad perspectives all centered around a town as screwed up as this story, this is a tale where no one is safe, there are no “good guys” to root for (unless you count the dog), and the baddies are so much worse than you could imagine.
I loved the mythology behind Cruelty and Forgiveness, and found the Withering fascinating. I could have spent much more time there. My only complaint is that often I found too much information or dialogue being doled out. As originally told in serials, it might have worked differently, but all together in one tomb I felt there were parts that could have been trimmed down significantly without sacrificing story or character. Lorn’s style of writing is so hypnotic that the infraction was easily overlooked, though I’m a big believer that cutting out the fat always leaves a better cut of meat.
All in all, a deliciously dark tale and one I would recommend to fellow macabre-loving souls. With this one, you won’t be disappointed.