Written by: Vitina Molgaard
Before we really jump into this review I would like to draw attention to one major fact. If you are a lover of gore and mayhem, you will not find much of that here. This story is one that I would classify as a suspense thriller more so than outright terror tale. That noted, we do deal with horror in the form of mankind’s inhumanity and the evil that dwells within the soul. Do not mistake my statement… this one may be more suspense than horror, but there is a horror story nestled in the pages of The Devil’s Choir.
In The Devil’s Choir’s prologue we meet one of the story’s focal protagonists, Ari, a guy who’s been around longer than one need remember. He comes from an ancient order that was established to combat the evils that exist in the spiritual world, specifically, demons. Don’t expect this particular introductory piece without the negative to counter the positive: we also meet our antagonist early, and this is no man we’re talking about, it’s a demon of profound strength and cunning guile. Take footnote, this entity doesn’t abide by any gifted moniker in specific, it just, is.
Soon we meet Miss Melanie Elarton, a young woman with special gifts and a loving kindness that keeps her in balance with the insane world around her. She has just moved to Kansas to start attending college and life’s essentially new for Elarton, so anticipate an examination of the growth and evolution one experiences during significant transition. And, expect Elarton’s journey to incorporate some unique obstacles most don’t even think of, let alone experience.
Not long after Melanie’s school year begins a young woman is found dead from what appears to be a ritualistic killing. But this is just the beginning of the story’s insanity. A few other prominent figures will enter the fold, and more mayhem waits readers. Speaking of other prominent figures, we’re quickly introduced to Melanie’s professor, Thomas Marston. Melanie’s juggling a serious attraction to the man, and he reciprocates. The feelings between these two are strong, but need to be kept quiet obviously. It should probably go without saying that teacher/student relationships are a definite no-no, for all parties involved.
The aforementioned “special gift” that Melanie possesses is of a psychic nature and enables her to determine whether or not a person’s internal drive is fueled by the works of evil or not. And that gift is about to come in handy, as it’s not long before another female student is found dead. Her death unravels in near carbon copy fashion to the first, with two important exceptions: one being that she was a very close friend of Melanie’s and the other being the intensification of the killer’s practice; the savagery of his heinous crimes is escalating, the modus operandi shifting.
After being left in the dark to the crimes occurring around them, the school and townsfolk catch wind of the mysterious and sinister happenings beneath their noses. This ensnares the attention of Ari and he feels his call to duty has been officially announced: this is a case that he clearly needs to investigate. As such, the stories two obvious heroes, Melanie and Ari are finally drawn together. Unfortunately, before the two become properly acquainted, another of Melanie’s friends meets their demise in yet another mirrored murder that works to outline an unknown, but clear motivation behind the killings: Melanie’s existence plays a pivotal factor in the ambition of our mystery murderer.
Know full well that despite the disclosed details in this review, I have barely touched on the story as a whole, or the characters worth studying. While a line must be drawn to prevent revealing too much, know that Professor Thomas Marston’s fate and general role in the narrative as a whole proves profound. However, while Marston’s relevance is paramount to the story, Ari and the Demon …the ancient society…and what inevitably happens with Melanie, cannot be overlooked…they are, and should be recognized as the meat of this dark adventure.
I personally enjoyed The Devil’s Choir, and recommend it to those who don’t necessarily need graphic gore or intensely horrific sequences to entertain their senses. Mr. Chris Morrow has written a fine book that reads smoothly and leaves his intended audience with a satisfying conclusion. This isn’t a perfect read, but I’m comfortable in declaring it enjoyable.