The theme of good vs. evil is a tried-and-true theme for novels of virtually any genre. With an opening line of “Here follows a true account of my first thirty days in hell,” the reader has an idea that this book will not be a light and airy read.
In the tradition of authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, author Christine Lajewski (pronounce it “Lah-JESS-ski,” please) takes the reader on an unusual ride (a hayride, even) through the dark world of the damned.
Bonebelly is the name given to the creature who pens that ominous opening line, and the name is bestowed on him by a young couple who discover him at a farm turned haunted playground for paying visitors somewhere in South County, Rhode Island.
“I know what mercy is, but I am certain I have no right to any,” Bonebelly asserts. We know he has been condemned to hell, but we don’t know why (until much later in the book). What we do know is that he is a gruesome, ghastly, gross being with a ravenous appetite that cannot be satiated. But he has human emotions, and understands that “it is left to [him] to chart [his] path, if there is one, toward redemption.”
Other characters appear, some on the side of good, like Sean and Amy, the young couple who are aspiring graphic novelists and take a keen and compassionate interest in Bonebelly. “Exploring the great darkness of the world of horror allowed them to set aside the lesser shadows in their lives.”
There is Demon, kind of a caseworker who oversees Bonebelly’s journey. And there is evil in the form of a shapeless mass that preys on innocent victims, eventually transforming himself into a handsome and charming human being. These main characters, along with a host of others at the farm, play parts as the battle between good and evil escalates, culminating in a faceoff between Bonebelly and his nemesis, Martin.
As a rule, I don’t read horror. But I must say that Lajewski writes beautifully and nails the language of someone who lived three hundred-plus years ago. While the pacing is at times slower than I would like, the story does progress and builds as it should. She includes dates ahead of most chapters so the reader will have a sense of date and place. At times it seems as though a chapter is being repeated, when Lajewski tells the same tale but from a different point of view.
If you’re a fan of the horror genre, or thinking of trying it out, Bonebelly is a good place to start. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can purchase a copy of Bonebelly from Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/ycxk9dc8) or through her publisher, Divertir Publishing (https://www.divertirpublishing.com/books/bb.html), where you can read the first 60 pages for free.
Next book review coming Tuesday, January 25!