While reading A Mighty Rolling Thunder, I had to remind myself that this was a novel and not an extended tutorial on the excesses of showing rather than telling.
Author Kerry Alan Denney is like an obese child jamming handfuls of candy into his mouth, only instead of M&Ms they’re adjectives, in an overwhelming, borderline Lovecraftian display of verbosity.
We begin with our protagonist Olivia, apparently a genius painter, who encounters otherworldly angels and demons while walking through the woods. Rather than being terrified or bewildered by the entities, Olivia is cool with it because – as Denny tells us – Olivia is just sorta down with the faery shit.
There’s no other introduction to Olivia’s beliefs. Like, say, an amulet that her great grandmother gave her, or references to wood nymphs or gnomes or any of that stuff. Just, “It was another profound glimpse into the world of faerie, similar (to the ones she had before).” For context, there was absolutely no foreshadowing to this revelation.
After these entities show themselves, not just to Olivia but everybody on the planet, obviously chaos ensues, because the demons bring out the rapist, murdering tendencies in people who were already sorta bad or predisposed to…rape and murder, or some shit.
Case in point: Olivia is nearly raped by Trent, her ex-boyfriend, who we know is evil anyway because his name is Trent. Except now the demons infected him with the rapist trope, because there’s CLEARLY no better way to show how evil someone has become than to have him attempt to rape the protagonist.
At this point in modern horror fiction, rape is like a zombie moaning for brains or a vampire saying he’ll suck your blood. Yawn. At least in Rolling Thunder the near-rape inadvertently made me chuckle because Trent starts yelling about his “fire-cock.” (Not the end of dick nicknames by a long shot, however.)
Also, for some reason, dogs can now communicate telepathically with humans, only they ‘talk’ like children or perhaps someone recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Thus, the dogs refer to those angels and demons, respectively, as “twinkle people” and “shadow-mans,” which would have been cute had these terms been employed once, but after a dozen references made me want to strangle my puppy, and she wasn’t even talking to me.
A note on the dogs: These mutts are presented with such sickening sentimentality that you’ll want to firebomb an SPCA. Denney can’t stop telling us how loyal and innocent these creatures are. No fuckin’ shit the dog’s loyal, it just came to Olivia’s rescue. That shows me how loyal the dog is, so why waste your time ruminating on the pupster’s loyalty? I mean damn, I have an imagination, so shut up, will ya?
Another FOR SOME REASON: This story also takes place in the near-future, not that it has any bearing on the story. We only know we’re in the future because Denney says so from time to time.
And just when I thought the frivolous rape scenes and cock references were over, here comes the BAD GUY, a supernatural something-or-other who rapes and murders ‘genius’ artists – oh no, Olivia, look out! – and constantly refers to his dick as his “little god.” Many, many times, at that.
Sometimes a dick is just a dick. If you want me to take your tired rapist caricatures seriously, stop giving their penises funny names.
The BAD GUY and his ho-hum motivations – compassion is a weakness, you stupid ignorant mortals, I’m so super evil! – are another nail in the book’s coffin.
The overwrought prose is distracting, the villain uninteresting, the cock references ridiculous, and, I swear, if I hear the term “twinkle people” one more time I’m chucking my dog into a wood chipper.