I just finished The Wicked by James Newman and it was amazing! Before we get into that though, I want to make a quick statement. This is not a review site. Please don’t barrage me with emails requesting a review of your book. I’m a reader like everyone else, but I read what I want and if it happens to really make me happy, I will do a little review of it. I have no intention of making this a regular part of my blog. Thank you for understanding!
I came across this book after seeing the link posted on facebook by a friend. I’m a huge fan of Shock Totem and the people who run it, so when I saw that they were publishing their first novel, I was very excited. But when I read the description and saw the lovingly rendered, slightly cheesy, 80′s style cover, I knew I had to read it.
Growing up in the 80′s was an interesting thing. There are many parts of my childhood that still make me cringe. The fashion was awful, the music could’ve been better (but I still love it) and don’t get me started on yuppies. But when I look back at those times, I can honestly say that I grew up in the golden age of horror. The films that they are remaking at a startling pace, were all born in the 80′s when horror wasn’t just more popular than ever, it was also a hell of a lot of fun. Horror didn’t take itself too seriously back then and that was okay. It was a great time. A chance to lose yourself in the fantasy and not spend too much energy investigating every nuance of the story. Books were no different. The stories could be unrealistic, or weird, or just plain ridiculous without ridicule. Bookstores even had whole horror sections back then, and I was never left wanting when I went shopping for books. So many great (and not so great, but I liked them as well) authors were taking us to hell and back. Those times are gone now and I miss them. I will proudly admit to being a child of that era. It made me who I am, and made me want to be a writer in the first place.
Back to The Wicked. I won’t be giving any spoilers here, but I just have to say that Mr. Newman really nailed it with this novel. The characters were great, the setting creepy and the premise a classic. Newman pays homage to the quintessential “possessed town” story, with a presence that could only be born of a true love of that decade. I was swallowed up by the story immediately, and loathe to put the book down once I started. I hated for the book to end, but I was amused by the afterword and felt instant kinship with the author. He gets it. He feels the same way I do about those old 80′s horror novels. I won’t say anymore here, except that I HIGHLY recommend this read to ALL horror fans. Especially those who, like me, feel nostalgic for what was the most prolific decade of horror. I can’t say enough good things about this novel, but I will let you read it for yourself!
Kudos to James Newman, K. Allen Wood, and all the crew at Shock Totem. You picked one HELL of a first novel to publish. Many thanks to you all for sharing this with the world, and bringing me back, if just momentarily, to one of the best times of my life.—C.W.