The Damnation Game by Clive Barker

” The Damnation Game ” is a horror novel by Clive Barker originally published in the 1980’s .

A gambling addict ( Marty Strauss ) is freed from prison in order to become the personal bodyguard of a wealthy man named Joseph Whitehead . Not all is at it seems however , weird things are happening to Whitehead’s heroin addict daughter ( Carys ) , and Whitehead is in constant fear of a man named Mamoulian . They apparently had made a deal together back in World War Two and Mamoulian wants Joseph to pay up . Mamoulian does various things to haunt Joseph such as raising the dead and entering Carys mind . During all of this , Marty falls in love with Carys and becomes determined to save her during this damnation game !

This is a great novel and reading this again was a treat . It’s a Faust-like tale mixed with Clive Barker’s distinctive blend of fantasy and body horror . Now saying that , this novel is not for the squeamish . It’s brutal and downright depressing but the prose is fantastic . Check it out , if you dare !

Horns by Joe Hill

Horns is a dark fantasy revenge story written by Joe Hill around 2010.

This story is told from the main characters ( Ig Parrish ) point of view . Ig Parrish has been a broken man since his girlfriend ( Merrin Williams ) was found in the forest with signs of being raped and murdered with Ig himself ( naturally ) being a suspect . He wakes sometime later to find that he is growing horns out of his head . That is not all he finds now though , it turns out that people are compulsively honest with him about their darkest desires and secrets . With this information , he also learns that he can get them to act upon those desires . Soon he figures out who the true killer is . What is one to do with all these gifts ? Get revenge obviously .

This is a revenge story with supernatural elements . Throughout the novel we learn more about Ig and Merrin’s relationship and that is where this novel shines the most in my personal view.  Most of the story outside of that is a neat concept but just doesn’t completely deliver on it . That’s not the main problem though , it’s mostly that none of the main characters are likable . Is it a bad book ? No . It’s written well enough , it just didn’t grab me .

Hell House by Richard Matheson

Hell House is a haunted house story written by Richard Matheson released in the 1970’s.

The story revolves around four people : Dr. Lionel Barrett ( a physicist whom also deals with parapsychology) , Edith who is his wife , Benjamin Franklin Fischer ( a physical medium who was the only survivor of a previous failed investigation into the Belasco House ) and Florence Tanner ( a spiritualist and mental medium ) are all tasked with investigating the Belasco House in Maine ( also known as Hell House ) by a dying millionaire interested in the possibility of life after death . Two previous investigations have failed and lead to the death of almost everyone involved by the way . The team doesn’t seem to get along well at the start and it gets worse throughout . The various hauntings becoming more dangerous and divisive .

This is a dark and suspenseful book . I cannot recommend it to those with a weak heart . If you’re strong though , I can’t sing it’s praises high enough . It is everything a haunted house story should be and more .

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters is a Christian fiction novel with a tongue in cheek style written by C.S. Lewis made in the 1940’s.

The story is a series of letters from an elder demon named Screwtape to his nephew demon names Wormwood . Wormwood is an incompetent temptor asked with damning a British man known as  ” The Patient ” . Each letter contains detailed tactics  as undermining God and getting man to condemn himself , with an occasional observation of human nature and the Bible . The demons don’t seem to understand love nor do they believe in human virtue .

This is one of C.S. Lewis’s most popular stories and for good reason . It is the first Christian apologetic story that I’ve read with an element of satire . It dives deep into Christian theological issues , primarily dealing with temptation while keeping a healthy sense of humor . I’d recommend this to anyone with a taste for supernatural humor as well as for those looking for a more spiritual read.