The cover got me, I admit it. The Grim Reaper is one alluring fellow, I couldn’t help it. I buy my wine the same way too: the more morbid the label — reds, black, and intricate patterns of monstrous or predatory creatures — the more likely I’ll buy it. And if it’s under $10, so much the better, NGL.
A Fig For All The Devils delivers too. Like a robust cheap wine, it was dark — almost bloody — with scents of dark foggy Oregon pine (the novel is set in Tillamook), oaky smokiness (well, more like cigarette smokiness, but go along with me in this metaphor play), and a generous injection of alcohol (cigarettes aren’t the only narcotic drug in this novel). And, just like when you bring a cheap oversized bottle of wine to the party, A Fig For All The Devils is fun in a package.
The novel is spun around a teenaged boy, Sonny, who is unfortunately saddled with a less than stellar family life. His father is gone. His mother is… not present (to say the least). Sonny is left to his own devices, grappling with grief of loss of one (but really both) of his parents. The Grim Reaper finds his cue here. In need of an apprentice, the Grim Reaper makes himself and his proposition known to Sonny. The novel is premised on this encounter.
A Fig For All The Devils reads as Young Adult fiction, a dark bildungsroman. Sonny’s problems are appropriate for an adult world, but to be fair, the kinds of dilemmas Sonny encounters are probably commonplace for teenagers today (anthropomorphized, embodied Death excepted). The prose fits a YA reader as well, easily accessible and authentic in its teenaged voice. The story flows at a fast pace, yet slows at key points for the reader to engage with the interiority of the protagonist, Sonny. On that point, while Sonny is the main character and it is through his eyes that we witness this novel, the other characters are vivid. They are all tangible, visible to the reader in their flaws and virtues. Death even, a mythical being, comes to life (pun!) in this novel in a very human manifestation.
A very fun (early) Halloween Horror read! (I’m starting my Halloween Horror early this year. Check out my other horror reviews: The Ghosts That Haunt Me: Memories of a Homicide Detective by Steve Ryan and Anybody Home? A Novel by Michael J. Seidlinger to date.
More horror to follow (for example, Gallows Hill by Darcy Coates and Valley of Shadows by Rudy Ruiz — both coming out in September, 2022 — and more!) Follow me to get updates!)