In Merridale, semi-transparent blue apparitions have appeared. These aren’t ghosts, exactly. They are visions of the dead in their final moments – the last seconds of their lives portrayed for all to see. They don’t move, and they don’t speak.
Ash Wednesday is a thoughtful horror story about what happens to people when they are forced to gaze into the face of death and, specifically, the face of their own personal dead: their friends and family, those they believed to be dead and gone. Murders are revealed, rapes and other crimes. People despair, and try to create new lives out of the wreckage. Two of these are Bradley Meyers, a vet already driven half-crazy by his experiences in Vietnam, confronted by the sight of his dead son, and now barely capable of containing his rage, and Jim Callender, whose son has died in the same accident, for which he is partly responsible. As Callender sinks into guilt, Meyers moves toward murder.
I really loved this book. It not only has the trademarks of horror, but it has the dramatic aspects of a thought provoking exploration of life and death. The story plays on the readers mind and lingers long after the is book is over. This is one book I really didn't want to end. The stories all weaved together to create a storyteller’s mastery.
That is what makes this book unique, you are given the life, and past of the town folks. Each story is told in flashbacks that come together in the present, as the living stare upon the ghost like images of the dead, in the spots they died. They appear in the way they died, on the spot they died at. Some disturbing. Some in the image of visceral carnage.
This is my first book I have ever read by the author, and it surprises me that I have never read anything that he has done. I was very happy to finally experience this storyteller. His imagery in word form, is a storytelling mastery that very few writers have. I highly recommend Chet Williamson, and I highly recommend this book.
My Rating: 4 out of 5