Review of The Wicked by James Newman

March 15, 2017


Say it… Say it... Moloch! Moloch!

The first instance James Newman invokes the name of this demonic figure it comes off almost forced, and then it came again, and again, soon enough, the name had power. The demon knows you've got to force the issue if you want to take over, or I suppose Newman recognized the fact. The Wicked is a rip-roaring event of dripping genre-fiction done well. At times it inches, as so many along similar path had before it, close to something absurd –drunken Santa, a woman forever scolding her husband for cussing, naked men running around the town. But never does it fully cross the path into parody.

The small-town terror is another aspect that knows many an author's feet, and that's probably because it's drenched in reality. Small towns always look quaint and feel safe, on the surface. Every small-town has room for, and often invites in, exploiters of hive minds.

And does Moloch ever exploit. 

This thing is lightning fast and fantastically easy to read and enjoy. Though not as smoothly painted as later tales, this thing is all horror and all fun. From the lurid imagery to the tempted near-saints tipping to wickedness, it’s loud, and has much of the horror nastiness of the time of beveled pocket-paperbacks featuring dripping knives and screaming skulls.

James Newman is versatile in his trade and while The Wicked is among in a style more commonly done, it isn’t so common that one is done so roundly. I know I’ve already said this, but it’s the perfect word, The Wicked is FUN! Fun in the way Bentley Little is fun. Fun in the way that is mostly bygone in the publishing world.

Say it one last time, for fun, Moloch!


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Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
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