Fascinating and scary,
June 20, 2010
This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)
This is a short book; you could read it in a single sitting, as I did--twice. Even so, Reverend Rage somehow manages to give us a story that has the scope of a full-blown novel without skimping anywhere. It's fascinating, scary, out-and-out repulsive at times, and even amusing in a few places. (I love Sammy, the crusty old ghost-dad who lives with Westphal.)
The book tells an intricate story, dark and gritty and bizarre--I don't know if Rage claims them as influences, but it makes me think of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick collaborating on a horror novel--set in a world of drug dealers, prostitutes, porn producers and otherworldly beings. This world, as well as the story, is well-realized and full of the kind of detail that makes it feel authentic. Everything is extremely vivid.
Westphal, the central character, is a drug-addicted loser who's just one screw-up away from losing his job at a hospital, and who finds he's gotten in over his head with his drug dealer. In fact, I would imagine most of us know, or have known, at least one Westphal in real life. There's much more to it than that, but talking more about the various threads and themes in the story would be running the risk of giving away spoilers.
Suffice to say it's a story full of imagination and weirdness, a story that invites you to give a little thought to what it takes to maintain some control over your life, and to take a look at your capacity for good and evil.