Children Of Chaos
by Greg F. Gifune
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Delirium Books, 2009.
Greg F. Gifune just might be Horror’s best kept secret. After all, while other genres place their best (note I didn’t say most popular) writers on a pedestal at the top of the highest ivory tower, horror prefers to keep ours hidden away, slaving in the basement of some small press publisher and only rarely seen during the hours of daylight. To misquote Einstein our best writers always seem to be left standing in the shadows of giants.
In what other genre would a writer described by Brian Keene as “the author everyone should be reading, hands down…he is, quite simply, one of the absolute best voices in dark fiction” be almost impossible to find in your local bookstore. Greg F. Gifune is a secret right up there with the recipe for Coca Cola, what happened in Roswell and just what makes Dan Brown so popular.
Children of Chaos is Gifune’s latest novel and tells the story of three boys who encounter a stranger one evening and how their lives are changed by that encounter. The children grow up with “issues”. Jamie is a disgraced priest, Phil an alcoholic writer and Martin is the leader of a strange, mysterious and dangerous cult.
When Martin’s family hires Phil in a last ditch attempt to try to contact him it takes him on a journey to the dark, supernatural heart of Mexico. The author acknowledges the debt owed to Joseph Conrad’s The Heart Of Darkness with this journey and the references are indeed clear but this is much more than a simple re-imagining of that novel.
With strong (often tragic) characters, marvellouslly depraved locations and strong mythic/religious overtones, we are treated to a tremendous thriller ride into hell. All of this is done in a clever, literate (but never flowery) prose which continually asks questions of the reader and not small questions either. God, religion, destiny and chaos are all up for discussion but the reader isn’t lectured, these themes are subtly integrated within the narrative and as a result this is a book that will stay with you for a long time.
Greg F. Gifune is one of the many horror authors who are writing in an engaging, thoughtful yet highly entertaining style. The book does not rely on gore to succeed but rather uses it to emphasise the horrors encountered and the psychological effects on the protagonist, which adds great depth to the book. With this novel Gifune places himself firmly as one of the leading lights in the literary horror field.
One of these days the great unwashed masses might finally realise that writers like Greg F. Gifune are producing works of the highest calibre. Deep, thought provoking, emotionally engaging but above all highly readable. In the meantime all I can do is advise you to head over to the Delirium website (here) where the secret is there for all to see, if only they would look.
You can read more about Greg F. Gifune at his website here.
Rating 4.5 out of 5