The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved, Joey Comeau, 219 pgs, Chizine Publications, Chizinepub.com, $17.95
Martin is a sensitive 11-year-old boy living in Halifax; his young mother, Elizabeth, is a makeup artist with a particular interest in horror movies. Martin’s dad is not in the picture, so when Elizabeth gets the opportunity to work on Blood Socket 2, Martin suggests she send him to bible camp for the summer so that she can travel to Toronto for the job. Obviously, horror ensues.
This book is fucked up, you guys. Joey Comeau is more than well acquainted with the horror genre, and his ability to splatter blood everywhere is in perfect proportion here with his talent for crafting believable characters — every last character is fully three-dimensional, with actual personalities rather than just arbitrary quirks to differentiate them from one another. This makes them relatable and engaging, and not just cannon fodder, which majorly ramps up the effectiveness of both the touching bits and the horrible bits well beyond the typical slasher films from which it takes inspiration.
The pacing, too, works very well, so that the first act is compelling on its own merits, whereas a lesser writer would sacrifice that stuff to get to the grisly murders as quickly as possible. Comeau’s patience makes the inevitable bloodbath all the more successful.
The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved is deliciously evil, like Satan’s birthday cake; and it’s blackly relentless, like your inexorable death. (Richard Rosenbaum)