Genre: Horror / Thriller
Publisher: Cohesions Press
Publication Date: 25th July 2017
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of Congregations of the Dead by James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Cohesion Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.
This is one of those strange ones whereby I have been aware of James A. Moore and Charles R Rutledge on social media for a few years now and, have indeed spoken to them on many an occasion, but never read their stuff. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did read a short story from Mr Moore a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. I have definitely never read Mr Rutledge though which is a crime in itself. I have taken some expert advice from him in the past when he has recommended some books to me, but for some reason never picked up his work.
Then this email drops into me out of the blue last week from Cohesion Press with this book on it. I took a snap decision to download it and start reading it straight away. Would I be rewarded with greatness?
This is what I thought.
Wellman, Georgia, is suffering. It’s suffering from its warmest summer in years. It’s suffering from with the exploits of a local gangster who is hell bent on expanding his underworld into the unsavoury.
Local Sheriff, Carl Price, along with his best friend, Wade Griffin, an ex-mercenary, turned private investigator, get roped into all sorts. This time they have been unwittingly pulled into the more sinister dealings of the local gangster. His crimes are of the worst kind and they must stop him.
Wellman is also suffering from religion. A new church has opened and its leader, Reverend Lazarus Cotton, is as mysterious as he is dangerous. Price and Griffin soon discover that some of the local crime may be down to the church. They just have no idea what they are going to be up against. Evil of the very worst kind.
As you would imagine, Price and Griffin would be the main characters to watch out for in this one. Sheriff Price is a cool and collected individual who knows the law inside out but also recognises that sometimes, he can make his own rules of law. He seems a very decent man that tries his best to do his best, in every aspect of his life. Wade Griffin is a man with a hidden past. It must have been a nasty past because it stays very much in the shadows. Again, he seems to be a man of honour but will twist the rules if he has to, to make sure he gets the desired results. As friends and colleagues, they work extremely well together.
Reverend Lazarus Cotton is a bit of an enigma. Nothing much is known of his past but it soon becomes clear he is not an honest Reverend, and a man with abilities that are both mysterious and very dangerous. You learn very early in the story just how despicable he really his, and just how dangerous.
There are a host of others who play major parts in the story like Wade’s girlfriend, Charon, another with certain abilities that she is learning from the enigma on the good side, Decamp. Fry is a man close to the Reverend and in some ways, is even more vile. To mention the others involved would take a while but I would rather tell you about the story.
The plot? Well I can’t give you anything on that really without spoiling the surprise. You don’t have long to wait though. The main bones of the story are learnt fairly early on. It’s just the twists in the story that keep on coming at regular intervals.
In terms of what to expect? Well I must admit I was expecting an out and out horror story but that’s not exactly what I got.
But don’t despair! What you do get for your money is much, much more!
Yes, it centres around a group of vampires, and yes it does get bloody and scary in the horror of the vampire scenario. In fact, it is creepy in a way that a lot of vampire stories aren’t. This isn’t a story of vampires covered in crappy glitter that sing songs and generally have a love in. Oh no. The vampires in this one are proper vampires. Think Salem’s Lot type of vampires. Ones that sleep in real coffins and don’t come out during the day and scare the absolute bejesus out of you when you know they are coming.
It also has slightly less scary supernatural undertones to it. When I say less scary, I mean more involved. Rituals and legends that go way back in history, and take a bit of figuring out before the heroes can use these powers and get them to work properly.
It also has a good old boy crime thriller feel to it as well. Price and Griffin are great at dealing with all things vampirish and supernatural, but they are also tough as old boots good guys that don’t take no nonsense from anyone on the wrong side of the law, and they will do anything they can to protect the good people of the town.
Add all of those parts together and you have a rip-roaring tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you read it.
Oh, and the writing is rather bloody good too!
Collaborations, for me, can be hit or miss. I have read some that have very distinct differences between the writing styles and this makes each part stick out like a giraffe on planet of the apes. Not with this little baby. I would defy anyone to be able to distinguish who wrote which part. It is perfectly paced and perfectly put together so you would think there was only one writer involved, and the words just flow across the pages making it an extremely easy book to read.
I have a loosely connected complaint though. This seems to be book two of a possible series and I can’t seem to be able to find the first book anywhere. Any ideas y’all? Mr Moore? Mr Rutledge?
To summarise: so many genres all grouped together in a perfect manor that will have you totally hooked from beginning to end. This is the personification of entertainment, no matter what your preference is.
☆☆☆☆☆ wonderful collaboration!
Everything else rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ it literally has everything!
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Congregations of the Dead or any other books from James or Charles. This not only supports us but also lets us know how many people actually like to buy books after reading our reviews.
In the small town of Wellman, Georgia, Sheriff Carl Price wants nothing more than to ticket speedsters and stop drunks from killing each other in the local bars. Unfortunately things aren’t working out for a simple life.His best friend, private investigator Wade Griffin, has taken on a case he normally wouldn’t, to try and build his P.I. business and get out of the mercenary game, which leads to trouble with a major regional crime boss.With a missing teenager and a child abduction to solve, and tension brewing from the other-worldly Blackbourne clan, Griffin and Price have their hands full. But something dark rears its head in the form of a new mountain church and its mysterious and charismatic leader, Reverend Lazarus Cotton.Once more, Griffin and Price must use the deadly skills learnt in their past, and call upon even deadlier associates when the problems escalate out of their control.Congregations of the Dead is a redneck adventure-horror of the darkest kind. In the small town of Wellman, Georgia, it’s a damn hot summer.
JAMES A. MOORE is the author of over forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Blood Harvest, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) Cherry Hill, Alien: Sea of Sorrows and the Seven Forges series of novels. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.
Never one to stay in one genre for too long, James has recently written epic fantasy novels in the series SEVEN FORGES (Seven Forges, the Blasted Lands, City of Wonders and The Silent Army). He is working on a new series called The Tides Of War. The first book in the series The Last Sacrifice, came out this last January and the sequel, Fallen Gods, is due out in late December. Pending novels also include A Hell Within (a Griffin & Price Novel) co-written with Charles R. Rutledge and an apocalyptic Sci-Fi novel tentatively called Spores. Why be normal?
Being a confirmed Luddite, he is working up the nerve to plunge completely into the electronic publications age.
And for more about James, visit his site, or find him on social media:
After a couple of decades teaching karate, writing comic books, and spending way too much time reading mysteries, SF, horror, and assorted other genres of fiction, Charles R. Rutledge decided it was time to actually turn out some fiction of his own. Charles is the co-author of three books in the Griffin and Price Urban Fantasy/Horror series, Blind Shadows, Congregations of the Dead, and the forthcoming A Hell Within, all written with James A.Moore. Charles has appeared in several anthologies including Strange Worlds, Carnacki: The New Adventures, and Widowmakers. A lifelong resident of Georgia, Charles lives in the Atlanta area where he is currently hard at work on other writing projects. He does have a cat, but writers always mention their cats so there you go.
And for more about Charles, you can find him on social media: