Epeolatry Book Review: Verum Malum by Michael R. Collins
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Title: Verum Malum
Author: Michael R. Collins
Publisher: Gloom House Publishing, 125 pages
Release Date: January 9th, 2021
Synopsis: A simple story of life, love, and the inevitable trip to Hell to save your husband’s soul from eternal torture.
Life is getting better for Ben and Noah until people from Ben’s past come calling, making him realize one does not dabble in infernal rituals and human sacrifice without paying a price. These people worship something far worse than the Devil, and a place far worse than Hell: the Verum Malum. Now Ben and Noah must survive the murderous attempts to bring him back into the fold, leading them into the malevolent heart of the Malum itself.
How far would you go for the one you love?
Occult based horror is one of my favorite sub-genres. I absolutely loved movies like The 9th Gate, The Omen, Lord of Illusions, and more. A recent example would be Ari Aster’s Hereditary. I am always on the lookout for books that give me the same sort of kick, and Michael R. Collins’s Verum Malum almost got there for me. The more visceral aspects of the book were well done. Collins does not hold back at the gore or over-the-top imagery depicted in the more ‘Hell-ish’ environments. But there were a few things missing for me.
The pacing felt jarring, and I didn’t buy a lot of the character’s actions. Plus, the characters all felt one-dimensional. Really, I wanted more. More time to take in the plot as it happened, more characterization for both the protagonists and antagonists, and more of a denouement to drive home the ultimate ending.
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Joe lives with his wife and son in the Pacific Northwest where the Cascade Mountains meet the Salish Sea. He enjoys writing in the weird, horror, and fantasy genres.
Growing up he enjoyed R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps books as well as classics like Dune, and Lord of the Rings. In college he discovered Stephen King, and later Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves and authors like Clive Barker and Laird Barron.
Joe’s short story, ‘Gustav Floats’, was published in Dim Shores Presents Volume 2. In the spring of 2021 his story, ‘The Pigeon Lied’ comes out in Howls From Hell.
You can follow Joe on the following social media sites:
Twitter, Good Reads, Facebook, and Instagram!