First published back in June of 2017, US author Nicholas Paschall’s ‘The Father Of Flesh’ formed the first instalment in the author’s Lovercraftian ‘Broken Gods’ series.

DLS Synopsis:
At the foot of the rolling hills of the Guangi province, a nightmarish horror has emerged out from the well of a small rural Chinese village.  The local villagers try desperately to fight off the ghoulish beast, wielding their farming tools and other makeshift weapons.  But in the thick of the fight, one of the villagers gets badly injured by the demon.

Days later and the injured villager feels far sicker than he’s ever been.  It’s not long before the corruption has spread beyond the sick man’s hut.  Within a matter of days, the entire village has succumbed to the insatiable appetite of the demonic infection.  Spreading out from the well, a mass of pulsating, writhing, mutated flesh gradually creeps further and further outward.  The air is thick with the stench of the corruption.  The ground a blanket of malignancy.  Perverted flesh and corruption.

Knowing dark forces are at work behind the mass of devouring flesh, the Chinese government call in the services of US occultist and highly-revered archaeologist Professor Davis Nickels.  Striking a deal with the Chinese government, it’s not long before Davis is flying to the Guangi province, and the site of the unholy corruption.  With him, Davis has brought graduate students Huan Zi and Boston University’s James Walker.

However, what they find waiting for them in the small Chinese village is far more terrifying than their worst nightmares. The Chinese military are struggling to hold back the hordes of demonic beasts that have started emerging from the well at the centre of the fleshy corruption.  The advancing creatures appear to be sporting the same diabolical corruption of flesh that has been spreading across the ground.  And everyone who falls victim to the Children of Flesh seems to become infected with their corruption, irreversibly tainted by the spawning malignancy, until they too join the ranks of the Children.

There is far more at stake than the survival of just one small Chinese village.  Davis realises that the corruption will not stop growing.  The malignant flesh spreading outwards, devouring everything as it goes.  And at the heart of the spawning, pulsing flesh, is an ancient evil that has awakened from its slumber.

What stands before Davis and the Chinese military is a battle for survival against an ancient evil.  The stakes are high, and the threat is beyond anything that Davis has ever encountered before.  But they must fight it with all that they have.  For if they don’t, the Father of Flesh will continue to devour, until all is lost but flesh.  Twisted, corruptive, perverted flesh…

DLS Review:
For his debut novel, author Nicholas Paschall has gone for an ambitious onslaught upon the reader, offering up a Lovecraftian style cosmic horror with a dominant leaning towards malignant body horror running throughout.

In fact, there’s more crossovers and influences woven into the fabric of this book than you can shake a malformed limb at.  Yes horror is fundamentally at the basis of the book, but branching off this you have elements of action and adventure thrown into the pot, almost akin to the likes of Spielberg’s ‘Indiana Jones’ films in places.

The horror itself is a mixing pot of occultist, cosmic, and body horror.  It’s otherworldly and ungodly, with ethereal planes and occultist rituals seeping through the pores of the book, as the snowballing tale takes us further and further into an abyss of hellish malignancy.

The book is set to be the first in a proposed series, with our principal protagonist the charismatic Professor Davis Nickels, leading the charge against ungodly, unholy and diabolical manifestations from the darker realms.  Davis himself comes across as a slightly more elderly version of Mark Sabat from Guy N Smith’s highly-revered ‘Sabat’ series.  Indeed, the similarities are numerous, but the use of such a dominant character type within a Lovercratian style cosmic horror series is absolutely spot on.

The tale as a whole is nothing short of pulse-pounding and truly unrelenting.  From the very first page until the eventual last sentence of the book, the pacing and nightmarish action is intense and constantly evolving.  The nauseating body horror is unleashed within minutes of commencing the book, with graphic depictions of the mutating flesh in its various degrees of perversity swamping the novel on an almost systematic basis.

In fact, Nicholas Paschall doesn’t hold back one bit with the visceral quality of his vile horror.  Nor does he stick with one relatively safe avenue to take the story down, but instead, allows its malignancy to stretch outwards in all directions, exploring numerous depths of darkness.

Furthermore, the degree in which the story explores the occultist elements and the whole cosmic horror mythos seems to extend the tale far beyond the reach of its page count.  In fact, at times the story has nothing short of an epicness to its ambition.  Like some sort of utterly fucked-up Lovecraftian-inspired ‘Lord Of The Rings’ (1954) mercilessly condensed down and shoe-horned into a much less imposing page count.

The sheer length and breadth of the malignant, malformed horror on show in the novel is astonishing.  It doesn’t let up for barely a minute, with the creeping, crawling, mind-bogglingly conceived nightmares unleashed, an unstoppable torrent of harrowing madness.  That said, the abundance of typos (in the first and then latter sections of the book in particular) are quite off-putting.  One minute you’ve been sucked into the roiling flesh and creeping chaos, the next you’re flung out on your ass by the derailing of an accidental typo.  It’s disappointing, but not enough to wreak an otherwise thoroughly entertaining read.

And that’s really what ‘The Father Of Flesh’ is all about.  Entertainment through a monumental amount of horror, designed to attack from both sides with equal measures, vile body horror, along with a similar sized helping of bone-chilling occultist horror. A masterclass in the far reaches of messed-up Lovecraftian horror.

The novel runs for a total of 371 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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