John Everson's The 13th is a rambunctious foray into ritualistic sacrifice, sexual sadism, over the top violence, and campy slasher flick horror. This ain't your run of the mill horror novel, that's for sure.
Half a century ago, Castle House Lodge was the exclusive getaway destination of the rich and famous. But for years it has stood empty, looming in the shadows of Castle Point.
Now after 25 years of silence, the doors of the one-time resort will be open again, but this time to a different type of guest. Castle House is now a private asylum for pregnant women. When people start to disappear from a neighboring small town, suspicion falls upon the asylum and it's current owner, Dr. Rockford. What exactly is a world renowned MIT geneticist doing treating insane pregnant women, and are they really crazy?
When David Shale's girlfriend goes missing, he has to team up with small town cop Christy Sorensen in order to find out exactly what is going on. As they delve deeper into the history of the house and it's current owner, they uncover a plot that will lead them to the ritualistic sacrifice of 'the 13th', a ceremony meant bring something horrible into our world.
To merely say that this book is dripping wet with sexuality and titillation would be the biggest understatement of the century. The mixture of the above mentioned plot and Everson's ability to write incredibly graphic scenes designed to stir up sexual feelings alongside intense revulsion is incredible. His narrative feels so personal and candid that he might as well be sitting in a bar with you, telling this tale in the flesh. Unfortunately the characters are a little less realistic, and ultimately of the throwaway variety. It's Everson's well championed ability to make you cringe through the power of his words that rules the day.
In an interview with Omega's Apple, Everson stated that this novel was "...inspired a lot by the Euro-horror and grindhouse films of the seventies." This is the most spot-on description of the book that can be found. The 13th feels about as dirty and nasty as something like The Last House on the Left or I Spit on Your Grave, without going for a retro feel. This isn't the type of book that you'll feel comfortable reading in a public place. I know I wasn't, and that added all the more fun to the journey.
If you're a fan of Richard Laymon, Wrath James White, or Edward Lee, you might want to give Everson a try. He's more than capable of stepping up to the plate with those literary bad boys, and rightfully deserves a place in the higher echelon of the "extreme" horror genre.
Visit John Everson's website for updates on his new books, appearances, and to find out more about this multi-talented man.