I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of Kevin Lucia’s Ragnarok Publications debut, Devourer of Souls. I would suggest reading Lucia’s fantastic collection Things Slip Through (from Crystal Lake Publishing) prior to diving into these two tales. It’s not necessary, but I would recommend it just to familiarize yourself with the mysterious town of Clifton Heights.
Devour of Souls is really two novellas put back-to-back. It starts off with Sophan. This is a fantastic tale about a dangerous Vietnamese game. Although it has roots in reality, Lucia has twisted it and created his own game of fate (and does a marvelous job, by the way). The story follows a couple of boys from Clifton Heights. Jake and Nate, and the Vietnamese blueberry farmer, Mr. Trung. Mr. Trung displays the Sophan game at his table at the community lawn sale. The boys and a couple of their friends surround the old man and listen to the rules of the game. Mr. Trung and his game hold much more power than any of them know. I’m not one to put spoilers in my reviews, so you can check the story out to see how things turn out for the boys and Mr. Trung. Lucia sprinkles Stand by Me over a twisted mash-up of a Creature Feature version of Mr. Miyagi. The results are a lot of fun.
Next, we have The Man in Yellow. The story of a town that is no more and how that came to be. This one happens outside of Clifton Heights, just north in the town of Tahawus. I really connected to the main character here, Stuart. He suffers from cerebral palsy and that keeps him from doing sports and participating in any real physical activities. I battled with Scoliosis my whole life and was (and still am today) restricted from some sports, plus, Stuart’s also a huge metal head/hard rock kid… Anyways, a preacher (the Man in Yellow) comes to the small town and is rumored to be able to heal people. This presents an inner-struggle for Stuart. Stuart’s grown comfortable with his “handicap” and is not real keen on God, but soon learns that the He the man in Yellow is preaching about might not be the Christian He. A great concept and a nice beginning, but for me, the story sort of drags a bit. I was hoping for a few things to happen that never did.
Overall, I loved Sophan and thought The Man in Yellow was okay. Devourer of Souls is still totally worth picking up for Sophan alone. Lucia is a great talent and a studious devouer of all things horror (including souls!).
Stay Tuned for my interview with Mr. Lucia this Wednesday (July 2nd).
And if you’re on Facebook Monday night (June 30th), stop by the Devourer of Souls Facebook party! I’ll be there with Todd Keisling, Mercedes M. Yardley, and more! Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/253636224830336/
For more on Kevin, check out his official website Kevin Lucia.com
Click here to pick up a copy of Devourer of Souls