Next After Lucifer is literary horror from the 80s. You remember literary horror? The plots may not have always made sense. You weren’t always happy with the endings. They had a bad habit of being anti-climactic. But, damn, the ride was always rewarding. This was an era when editors weren’t an option. If you got published, your shit may not have been the greatest story out there, but there weren’t going to be typos on every page. Horror was king in the 80s. Everyone was trying to find the next Stephen King or pump out the next Exorcist. So, solid literary writers, that couldn’t make a living in their crowded genre, gave horror a go. Chances are, Daniel Rhodes was one of the aforementioned herd. I had never heard of him before, but what the hell? I’ll give it a go.
The book falls right in the meaty curve of what I previously defined. Next After Lucifer follows an English couple, Professor John McTell and his wife Linden, that vacation in a rural French village near the ocean. Up on a hill is the old ruins of middle-aged castle rumored to be home to a Knight Templar, Guilhelm de Courdeval, who was burned at the stake for conjuring up a little demonic naughtiness. Professor McTell, always the curious, academic type, hikes up to the ruin and happens upon Courdeval’s evil book of sorcery with a little help of the recently released occultist’s soul. As you can imagine, John brings the book back and, as he’s slowly unlocking it’s secrets, becomes an unknowing pawn in the sorcerer’s evil plan. I liked Next After Lucifer. It’s got that nice, slow burn you’d expect from 80s horror. The characters are interesting, yet sometimes they can blur together and you have to stop and think who this person is. Don’t expect lots of non-stop action and gore. This is all about a slow build of atmosphere, character development, and dread. Recommended for fans of Charles L. Grant, J.N. Williamson and fans of other similar 80s horror writers, as well as occult/demonic possession/Knight Templar horror mish-mash.
3 1/2 Don’t Drink The Demon Waters out of 5
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