Ray is a Christian, but he loves a woman who follows a god called Zabir. Determined to save her from eternal damnation, he joins her church.
Ray doesn’t realize that indoctrination into the Zabian way is a process that not only breaks a man physically, it strips his identity and shatters his mind. He holds onto his faith at first, but as his prayers for mercy go unanswered, and the pain inflicted on him becomes too much to bear, the void of nothingness promises relief, and tempts Ray to do the unthinkable, even if leaves his soul as damned as the one he tried to save.
“Damned before you have a chance to live. How right does that sound to you?”
Church is a novella that really packs a lot into a small amount of pages. This was my first time reading a book by Renee Miller, and I loved it. This book is incredibly bleak, and it’s sad to read about these people giving up everything for something meaningless. It’s an unfortunately familiar setting.
At a very different time in my life, I worked at and was way too involved in a church. This story brought back a lot of anxious feelings and anger (maybe brought back isn’t correct – probably intensified since those feelings don’t really go away). The story accomplished what it was supposed to – it showed the horror of a realistic situation (at its core – some parts are extreme, but the heart of Church is very familiar to me). It was stressful to read at times, but it makes for a fantastic horror story. Church made me want to scream at someone, and it was an effective story for me. I don’t know if that expresses my feelings well or not, but that’s the best way I can describe it.
I’m going to give warnings to potential readers for rape / lack of consent, torture, drugging, and suicide. There’s a lot going on in this story, so just know that it’s on the heavier side. This is not a happy book, and it’s not a happy topic.
If you enjoy cult horror, Church is definitely one to pick up. This is a grim and haunting story, and I plan to reread it again later on. I’ll be thinking about this book for a while. Renee Miller did a great job at capturing a disturbing setting, and I can’t wait to read more from her.
About Renee Miller
I’d like to say I hate talking about myself, but that would be a lie. I don’t mind in the least. Will it be interesting? Meh.
I grew up in Tweed, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto for all of you wondering where the heck that is. Once the home of Elvis’s ghost and not much else, Tweed is quiet and familiar and that is just fine by me.
HWA member, published independently and traditionally with publications such as UnnervingMagazine, Broadswords and Blasters, DarkFuse Magazine, Deadman’s Tome, Cwtch Press and Hindered Souls Press. You can also find me over at Deviant Dolls Publications and Underground Book Reviews.