First published in September of 2014, US author William Holloway’s novel ‘Lucky’s Girl’ followed on from a handful of similarly dark tales of nightmarish horror incarnate.

DLS Synopsis:
Over the years, Mason James, better known as Lucky, had come closer and closer to assembling the perfect tribe from the flotsam and jetsam of the California fringe.  But now the feds were looking for him. And so it was time to move on.  Time to hole-up somewhere away from the eyes of the law.  Somewhere he knew would be safe for a man of his talents.

Elton Township was a town with no jobs and a serious alcohol problem.  No one had any money there, let alone any hope for getting anything more than the meagre amounts that the state doled out.  But nevertheless people stayed.

For Kenny McCord, Elton was somewhere he had left behind many years ago.  It was a place that had once been home for him, but one he had hoped he’d never return to.  But after his wife had died, here he was, leaving Houston behind, and returning to Elton with his twelve-year-old daughter Jenny and his eight-year-old son Jake in tow.

But Kenny was not the only one to return to Elton after all these years.  When The Big Tree beckoned him, his once best friend, Mason James, also found his way back to Elton Township.  However, Mason’s arrival was far more dramatic than his old friend’s.  With the funeral of the town’s beloved reverend packing out the church pews, Mason’s return couldn’t be more fitting.  The son of the reverend had returned to save Elton from its despair.  And Mason was the first to pronounce himself the shepherd to his new flock.  For he was a prophet.  It was all too perfect.

But not everyone was pleased to see the return of the late reverend’s prodigal son.  A few of Elton’s residents remembered Mason from all those years ago and the reasons for his forced departure from the town.  None more so than Kenny.  Mason James got away with everything.  It was how he got his name - Lucky.  He had an unreal charisma that allowed him to do things.  To always get his way.  But there was something else behind it that allowed him to influence people far beyond the realms of simple charisma.

Sheriff Jerry Kaminsky had an idea of what was behind it all.  It had something to do with the trips Lucky used to make on his own out to Grove Island.  He’d been seen shooting animals with his pellet gun, then stuffing the still alive animals into a blood-soaked pillowcase and then taking them to Grove Island.  There, in the shadow of The Big Tree, he would cut open the still alive animals and pull out their insides; playing with their innards as they slowly died.

And now Lucky was back in Elton Township.  He had heard the Big Tree calling him, and he knew the Big Tree would give him what he wanted the most – revenge…

DLS Review:
Stephen King eat your frigging heart out.  This is one hell of an intense and nerve-racking ride.  It’s a story that starts out with a creeping Charles-Manson-meets-Jim-Jones vibe, and then puts the metaphorical peddle to the metal with a near never-ending descent into a mind-boggling cosmic horror mayhem.

When I reference Stephen King I do this very intentionally.  Author William Holloway doesn’t necessarily write in a particularly King-esque manner, in fact far from it, but in ‘Lucky’s Girl’ he has created a story that seems to have been born from the mind of the great writer himself.  There’s just so much King in there that it’s as if the novel was penned by King – only to have all the writer’s usual verbose padding stripped out to leave behind just the barebones horror of the tale in all its visceral and nightmarish glory.

Indeed, the basic structure of the story is one that been adopted numerous times by King over the years.  What we have is a storyline that starts out in the ‘current time’ and then jumps backwards to the tail-end of the 1980’s whereby the thick roots of the plot begin to take ground.  The main bulk of the story is told through this period, until the reader is flung forwards again to the present time, whereby the last third of the novel is played out in an adrenaline pumping finale of utter mayhem.

And to be fair, the thick-framing structure of the novel works perfectly with the story and its ‘decades-later’ returning horror.  Furthermore, there’s such a crazy escalation of mounting horror throughout the novel that by the time the final portion of the storyline has arrived, it’s pretty hard to imagine how Holloway’s going to take the monstrous horror of the tale to any further depths.  But holy shit does he manage it!  Hold on to your seats, strap yourselves in, and brace yourself for a near-apocalyptic madness that’s about to be unleashed upon you.  We’re talking some pretty messed-up and downright nightmarish scenes of horror here.  And my god does it just keep on coming.

Holloway clearly isn’t afraid to push the limits of taste.  Expect graphic and quite visceral scenes of violence and murder, group sex, and bestiality.  And we’re not just talking about a suggestive whisper of the more taboo subjects.  Oh no.  Holloway’s not shy at all with where he’s willing to take his reader’s.  As such we’re treated to a mosaic of horrific lunacy glued together with scene after scene after scene of barbaric and stomach-churning debauchery that ultimately culminates into a dramatic finale that takes you to a veritable hell on earth.

If you enjoyed John Prescott’s ‘The Revelation Chronicles’ books then you really won’t want to miss this novel.  Indeed there’s probably as much of the likes of Prescott’s ‘Pray’ (2010) in there as there is a Stephen King influence.  Throw in some Graham Masterton levels of perverse horror, a good splatter of Douglas Clegg’s scenes of vivid nightmares, and a thick slice of Richard McCammon’s near-apocalyptic escalation of events, and you’ll be pretty much where ‘Lucky’s Girl’ is at.  And it’s a goddamed messed-up place.  But it’s oh so entertaining for it.

For dark, twisted, and an altogether messed-up horror that throws you to the wolves time and again, you really can’t go far wrong with this hellish-trip of a novel.  It’s got more nightmares and mind-screwing horror packed into its pages than a night spent in the LSD-corrupted mind of Charles Manson at the pinnacle of his sex-crazed-power-tripping madness.

The world has a new prophet.  And he’s got one hell of a messed-up trip in store for us all.

The novel runs for a total of 364 pages.

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