The fear in the room was palpable. There were two of them. Simon Reeves, former rugby giant for Melbourne Storm, a beefy full forward with a ruddy complexion and faintly aggressive nature, and Milton Bush, lifelong friend of Simon’s, small, ferret-faced, with curly hair that earned him the nickname of Poodle at school, and who shared with Simon an addiction to heroin.
They had joined the Cultural Development Group one year ago to this day. They were an unlikely pair to join a sect, and even more unlikely was the fact that they were in the process of riffling Brother Desmond’s files.
Matt Brannigan, his wife Helen and their daughter Briony are on the move again. Briony has strong unbridled psychic abilities that defy description and result in their almost transient lifestyle. This time, they’ve decided to go to Warrnambool, for no good reason any of them can identify. Almost immediately, Helen dies, in circumstances that might be natural but probably are not. The resulting grief drives a wedge between Matt and Briony and almost before he’s aware of it, she’s joined the Cultural Development Group. Brother Desmond, cult leader is both creepy and charismatic and his many followers will protect him at all costs. Far from being a coincidence, it seems that Briony’s attraction to the cult is part of Brother Desmond’s plan. She has power he needs and nothing, not even the most determined father, is going to get in his way. A horror novel set in regional Victoria, ‘The Beckoning’ blurs the lines between living and dead, and brings nightmares to full, terrifying life.
Strap yourself in and take a ride on the very dark side, where death is only a gateway and the gate is not quite latched. This is a world where cultists prey on the lonely and those suffering, offering sanctuary without revealing the costs. Knowledge is power and Brother Desmond harvests knowledge from those who offer it as well as those who try to withhold it. ‘The Beckoning’ is a thrilling novel, best read in daylight. Matt Brannigan is forced to examine his beliefs and understanding as he takes on a foe able to manipulate minds, conjure lethal weather conditions and warp reality in his quest to cross the threshold of hell. He is assisted by Helen’s friend Clarissa, who has insights he will need if they are going to be able to best the maniacal Brother Desmond.
The Beckoning, Paul Collins Damnation Books 2013 Digital ISBN: 9781629290331
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author