06 August 2014

Satan's Fan Club by Mark Kirkbride

 Rebellious twins James and Louise meet a man while out for a night of fun who invites them to join a dangerous and exciting club. While they yearn to join Nick’s club and escape their staunchly religious upbringing, entrance requires they commit a crime tailored just for them. The twins find themselves trapped in a shadowy world they only half-believe is real and contemplating horrible acts that no sane person would consider. But sometimes the most fertile breeding ground for evil is innocence...

Have you ever sat down with a book and from the first page you could tell you were about to engage in a mind warping plot that is written so brilliantly it reads almost like poetry at its finest?  Well this is what I experienced with Satan’s Fan Club.  From the opening scene I could tell this wasn’t going to be a normal dark and twisted story, it was going to drag me to the depths of hell and make me face the taboo topics that society refuses to address.  I can’t give any details of the story, to spoil the experience for you would be a huge injustice to not only the author but you as the reader.  You really need to take the ride and feel the story for yourself to understand the brilliance of this authors work.
James is not your normal teenager nor is his twin sister.  They are being raised by overly religious parents who tell them what to think.  To exercise your free will and right to decide your own belief system would be considered a sin worthy of death.  His father is the leader of the Doomsday Church which is more like a cult.  He has developed rituals such as psycho-analysis with he calls “inverted Freudeanism” and other rules that he demands the family and followers lives by.  His wife has taken on the blind submissive role to the point he tells her pretty much everything she needs to think and feel.  For me God was pretty much invisible in his actual beliefs and practice and control over his family is what ruled his actions. 
So what happens when the life James grew up with clashes into the reality of the Devil, hell and his own human desires?  That is what this story is all about.  With the addition of a serial killer being active in the London area, we find that the nightmares that James lives with about killing his family could be fueled by more than his deep seeded resentment that he keeps shoving down in his soul. He is even confronted with emotions towards his twin sister that would clearly destroy his world but what is driving him to have these thoughts and emotions?  Is there really a satanic force set free in this world to do damage and destroy lives?
The ending will literally send you reeling.  I could only sit and repeat the word WOW over and over again as I finished the last 20% of the book.  It is one you won’t want to miss out on if you love this kind of book.  The characters were so well developed and ranged from all aspects of society that it would be difficult in my opinion to not be able to connect with some and have strong emotions about others.  The author brings the world of the unknown to life for us and dips us into the dark levels we all try to avoid.  The scene development was more difficult than normal for me to visualize but I believe that is due to the vocabulary and style the author used.  It wasn’t even close to being unpleasant, just proved this was not a book you can just skim through, you must pay attention to every word, sentence and page so you don’t miss a single second of this story. 
If you enjoy taking on a dark and twisted read then you will be pleased with this book.  It is not intended for readers who want a fluffy, light read with a little suspense; this is what I would consider a literary horror movie that feeds the thrill seeker in us. Make sure you get your copy of this book and be prepared to remember this story for a long time.   
 Mark Kirkbride lives in Shepperton, England. He writes fiction and poetry. His novel Satan's Fan Club is out now, published by Omnium Gatherum. His poetry has appeared in the Big Issue, the Morning Star, the Mirror and anthologies.


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