I’m thrilled to share my review of Worship Me by Canadian author Craig Stewart. Worship Me is a fast-paced horror novel that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Something is listening to the prayers of St. Paul’s United Church, but it’s not the god they asked for; it’s something much, much older.
A quiet Sunday service turns into a living hell when this ancient entity descends upon the house of worship and claims the congregation for its own. The terrified churchgoers must now prove their loyalty to their new god by giving it one of their children or in two days time it will return and destroy them all.
As fear rips the congregation apart, it becomes clear that if they’re to survive this untold horror, the faithful must become the faithless and enter into a battle against God itself. But as time runs out, they discover that true monsters come not from heaven or hell…
…they come from within.
Worship Me is a story of terror and demonic conversion. A foreboding atmosphere greets the reader from the opening paragraph and by the second chapter, when Clara and her minivan collide with a cat, the reader is hooked. Stewart displays the twin talents of superb story telling and excellent pacing, along with satisfyingly rich and evocative descriptions.
Every story is born of an idea, or a premise, and Stewart’s is a strong one; he has the ability to conjure in the mind of the reader that his is a story worthy of being told, a story albeit as old as religion itself. Worship Me satisfies on a literary level, Stewart peppering his narrative with witty turns of phrase, especially in his character descriptions:
“Gary’s wife, Tina, lived on the bright side of things; you could tell she was a permanent resident there by the inexplicable glow that she carried wherever she went.”
All the characters in Worship Me are crafted with a sharp eye; the result is a cast of believable and largely unlikeable church goers of varying degrees of devotion; the congregation of a typically small-minded tight knit and remote community. Enough complexity in the early part of the story holds the attention, the pace quickening about a third of the way in, when a preternatural wind gathers pace “like a bulldozer careening through a supermarket.”
From then, the story becomes a gripping, heart-palpitating read, the reader turning this way and that, maybe even away from the page, certainly feeling as frantic as the characters, who each display their unique traits, for better or worse, as they battle to make sense of and handle the situation they are in.
For anyone familiar with Nick Cave, think a book length O’Malley’s Bar. The terror is unrelenting.