Saturday 23 October 2021

This Thing of Darkness - Fiorella De Maria and K.V. Turley

This Thing of Darkness
K.V. Turley
Ignatius Press
eISBN 9781642291797

Prior to reading this volume I had read all of Fiorella’s fiction and one of her non-fiction works. I had also read the only other volume I believe that K.V. Turley has published. I eagerly anticipated this book from the moment I heard about it. I would pick up anything De Maria published, and was impressed by the previous volume from Turley I had read. This volume marks the twelfth time I have read a volume from de Maria, and I wish there were more available. But this story is unlike anything else either has previously published. The description of the volume is:

“Hollywood, 1956. Journalist and war widow Evangeline Kilhooley is assigned to write a "star profile" of the fading actor Bela Lugosi, made famous by his role as Count Dracula. During a series of interviews, Lugosi draws Evi into his curious Eastern European background, gradually revealing the link between Old World shadows and the twilight realm of modern horror films.

Along the way, Evi meets another English expatriate, Hugo Radelle, a movie buff who offers to help with her research. As their relationship deepens, Evi begins to suspect that he knows more about her and her soldier husband than he is letting on. Meanwhile, a menacing Darkness stalks all three characters as their histories and destinies mysteriously begin to intertwine.”

 In some ways it reads as historical fiction. There is a touch of romance. A good dose of horror or even a hint of thriller. And the scenes in the POW camps are powerful. This story is haunting in many way. And the haunting begins with the cover. I could not look at the cover and but feel a bit of dread. The cover reminds me of the classic horror or monster movies I would watch on Saturday afternoons when young, with commentary and interjections by Elvira. Reading the book is both disturbing and haunting. All that both Evi and Hugo have been through. Their growing connection as he assists her with her pieces. They whole mystery around the famous or infamous Bela Lugosi, his powerful presence, his stories and the implications of what he says and leaves unsaid. And finally the intervention of a Catholic Priest, and an Exorcist at that. 

Just wow. It is a dark story powerfully told. I cannot help but wonder how the duo wrote the story. If they alternated sections from the different perspectives? Worked on it together, or some other format. But no matter how the work was completed it has made for a mesmerizing tale. Normally I read a novel in a day. I spread this one out over a few days. I had to stop and think and reflect upon the story at a couple of key junctures. To figure out if I was interpreting the events in the story as intended, or if my own personal lenses were skewing the intent. 

This story is masterfully written. And though it is unlike anything either has published it is executed to perfection. The pacing, the characters, the interwoven narratives all come together perfectly. It was a perfect book to read as summer turned to autumn. And it is a book I am certain will entertain. I would have no concerns picking up another book if the two collaborate again, and can easily recommend this to fans of the genre.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by K.V. Turley:

Books by Fiorella De Maria:
The Cassandra Curse
Father William's Daughter
Poor Banished Children
Do No Harm
We'll Never Tell Them
A Most Dangerous Innocence
I Am Margaret The Play

Father Gabriel Mysteries:
The Sleeping Witness
The Vanishing Woman
See No Evil

Books as Fiorella Nash:
The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women

Author Profile and Interview with Fiorella de Maria.

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