After reading and highly enjoying Sudden Death Overtime, by author Steve Vernon, I got my hands on another book of his, titled: Tatterdemon and boy, was I in for another delightful treat. Read on to see what the story is all about and whether you should pick it up or not…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: In 1691 the town of
Crossfall taught the witch Thessaly how to die. They beat her, they shot
her, they hung her – but nothing worked. When they finally tried to
bury her alive Thessaly set the field against them. The first man died
as a gust of wind harrowed the meat from his bones. A root,flung like a
dirty javelin, cut a second man down. Many more deaths followed. The
Preacher Fell impaled the witch upon her very own broom but she dragged
him down into the field to wait for three more centuries.
hundred years later Maddy Harker will murder her bullying husband Vic.
She will bury him in the field as she buried her abusive father years
before that. The very same field where the revenant spirit of Thessaly
Cross lies waiting.
In three days Vic will rise again – a thing of dirt, bone and hatred.
Men will call him the Tatterdemon.
And hell – and Thessaly – will follow.
The story starts off 300 years ago, as the witch Thessaly Cross is being buried in a field. It turns out that the townsfolk have been trying very hard to kill this witch and they just can’t seem to get the job done. So, the priest, Preacher Abraham Fell, vows to end her life, by burying her in a field, with a pile of rocks on top of her. Things don’t go exactly as planned and the witch uses her power to murder several people and curse the town of Crossfall for an eternity.
We jump ahead 300 years and get introduced to a bunch of strange people, that now inhabit the same town, Crossfall. Not one person is normal in this town, be it the town drunk, who dresses as a preacher, even though he isn’t and lives in the abandoned church, the retired freak show, who is just trying to lose some weight, the voodoo woman, who works at the police station, or even our main character Maddy, who is continuously abused by her husband Vic, until one day she can’t take it and brains his skull in with a frying pan and buries him in the field, the same field that houses the witch, Thessaly, who has been slowly waiting and building power over time. Because of this, Maddy doesn’t realize that Vic isn’t going to stay dead for long and instead is going to be reborn a different, but stronger man, known as the Tatterdemon. All hell is about to break loose in Crossfall and not a single insane person will be safe.
What a read Tatterdemon was. It’s start off super quick, with the burying of the witch and soon gets you on the edge of your seat, as Steve Vernon introduces character after character, each with their own dirty secret, that invokes almost a Twin Peaks vibe with the towns craziness. I loved that he spent time with each character, with several chapters dedicated to each person, as you got to witness the terror unfold through several characters perspectives. It never feels dull and it shouldn’t, as the violence and mayhem presented here, is through the freaking roof. People are dieing left and right in gory fashion and no one is safe.
There are a few small problems with the book however. There are some editing problems, where the wrong name of a character is written and it left me confused for a second, until I realized it was just a grammatical error. Unfortunately this happens more than once and it can take you out of the story. I’m thinking one more go through with the editor, would’ve been beneficial. Also, things can get so crazy and insane, you might have a challenge keeping up with everything that is happening. There were times where I thought a certain character was dead, but the next paragraph he seemed to be alive and well. I actually had to go back a few pages and make sure I read it right and I did, so that left me a little confused. Also, the ending does come up fairly fast in regards to the resolution of the witch and I wished a little more time would’ve been spent dealing with her. Still, the last page left me craving more, as Steve Vernon wisely leaves you on a cliffhanger.
The small negatives are only going to bring the score down a little, as the overall package is pretty damn impressive. The story keeps moving at a hummingbird’s pace and you’ll want to keep reading, even if the clock strikes 2am and you need to work in the morning. With that said, I highly recommend picking up Tatterdemon, especially if you love a fast paced story, with witches, demons, ghosts, violence, gore and a certain quirkiness, that will at times pull a chuckle out of you.
Rating: 4/5 (-1 for some grammatical issues and occasionally story confusion. +4 for a highly interesting story, gore and an ending that leaves you wanting more.)