Tenebrion by James H. Longmore
Note: I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I have a lot of mixed feelings on this one. There is one very mild spoiler towards the end of the review.
What drew me to Tenebrion was its intriguing premise - an amateur film maker recreates a Black Mass and accidentally summons a demon who hunts them down one by one. Along with haunted houses, demons and summonings are among my favourite types of horror stories.
Longmore does excellent work with his descriptions and atmosphere. The book had a cinematic flavour and is filled with classic horror movie scares. There were many of the earlier scenes that sent shivers down my spine and had me doublechecking under the bed.
This book is meant for someone with a stronger stomach than me. The summoning scene is straight-up gross. I had to set the book aside for a bit and be glad I hadn't been eating while reading. I accept gore as part of horror, but a lot of this seemed unnecessarily gross. You've been warned.
My biggest disappointment was in the characters.
Everyone is despicable. Heroes don't have to be likeable all the time, but everyone should have at least some redeeming qualities. I found I couldn't care about anyone and that I actively hated most of them. Especially our two leads, Priestley and Labeaux with their excessive misogyny. They both go to great pains to paint Priestley's girlfriend, Ashlynn as jealous and controlling, but do nothing but give her perfectly valid reasons to be that way.
Which brings me to the subject of the women portrayed in this book.
The main female characters are Ashlynn, Priscilla and Carolyn. All three are petty and man-hungry. Priscilla comes off a bit better than the other two, but even she flirts shamelessly with David, even in front of his girlfriend.
They're also willing to do things women would not normally do just to compete for Priestley's affections. There is a part where Ashlynn does something incredibly gross for Priestley during the summoning scene that I can't see any woman doing.
(mild spoiler in next paragraph)
The scene that really bothered me was when the first body showed up. Despite the poor woman's body being mangled and torn apart, we were still treated to a description of her "curvaceous hips", "ample buttocks", and "generous bosom". Then, staring down at the woman's mutilated body, another woman makes a snide remark to herself about the woman's chest size.
If you have an iron stomach and aren't too fussed about the depictions of the women, then you might enjoy this book more than me. I meant it when I said the author has excellent descriptions. His use of creative similes is especially worth mentioning.