Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Benjamin pulled the wand out of the fire; sparks flew up like a swarm of flies. Staring at the great black entity before him, he stated: ‘All-powerful Lord Osiris, who exists amongst the Gods in the astral plane, and governs the Realm of Resurrection and Everlasting Life, we have bestowed upon you the gifts of the earth so that Bryan Conroy may purely and honorably engage your powers of spiritual rebirth for the purpose of ancestral afterlife, with utmost earnestness and commitment.’ The spirit stood motionless, then gently nodded, his moving face leaving a shadowy trail that faded in seconds.”

As I took notes on this book, I found myself repeatedly writing “wow”.  Laimo’s descriptions of the supernatural, horrific events in this book created memorable images in my mind that literally had me wide-eyed at times.  Other times I continued reading with my head turned half-away from the book – like watching a horror movie with your hand over your eyes, fingers spread, so you don’t miss anything. 

If you can’t stomach graphic descriptions of violent acts of one person on another, then this book is not for you.  It is full of rich, graphic descriptions of brutal, gory events.  This, however, is not a blood-and-guts book with a plot of no substance.  The plot is very well done, and the characters are well-developed.  It’s the story of a man tortured by his conviction that the gods have revealed a secret to him that requires him to do things no one else understands.  Things that others think are cruel but that he believes will bring him and his family eternal peace.

I didn’t enjoy the first chapter of the book, but I’m so glad I kept reading.  The writing style in that chapter was different from the rest of the book and I found it uninteresting.  It also seemed that Part 2 was not as well edited as Part 1.  There was some contraction usage and sentence structure that didn’t flow well for me.  Sprinkled through the book there also were a handful of weak metaphors and similes.  These technical flaws, however, were easily overlooked because of the excellent story and imagery created by Laimo. 

Besides the supernatural and occult themes there are also messages in this story about blind obedience.  There is a father and a mother figure, each of whom hurts their family members – sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally - “for their own good”.  They hurt them because of some genuine religious faith that tells them that it will benefit their families in the long run and their family members follow despite their own doubts, out of love, respect, and fear. 

Each of the religious characters also has something to hide, creating a theme of religious hypocrisy.  The father is a minister and the most vicious character and his secrets are cliche – the stereotypical things that one imagines ministers hiding.  The insights into the workings of his mind and his genuine faith, however, keep him from being in any way a flat, uninteresting character.  He is one of several intriguing characters in this story.    

While there were some technical issues with “Dead Souls”, I strongly recommend it as an engrossing horror story with a strong, well-constructed plot and fascinating characters.  

Book Cover Description

When Johnny Petrie inherits an estate from a man he's never heard of before, he knows he can finally escape the hell of living with his religious zealot mother and drunken father. He doesn't realize that the hell he is moving into will be far, far worse.

The previous owner was Benjamin Conroy, a man obsessed with securing eternal life for himself and his family - even if he had to kill them to do it. Conroy's perverse ceremony of blood and butchery went hideously wrong, denying him and his family the immortality he sought. But with Johnny's arrival, Conroy's spirit has a second chance...

About the Author


His short fiction has found its way into the pages of A WALK ON THE DARKSIDE, LOST ON THE DARKSIDE, HOT BLOOD XII: STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, SURREAL MAGAZINE, INHUMAN MAGAZINE, plus many more anthologies and magazines. He has three short story collections, including the recently released DARK RIDE, now available from Borderlands Press.

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