Review of Jonathan Moon’s “Heinous”
Before I started on Heinous, I assumed it was going to be something like Mr. Moon’s Nightmares, which was a series of short stories and novellas with some intertwined themes to it. Instead, this was a single tale-a tale about Gavin, a somewhat normal teenager that occasionally has dark visions of torture and other disturbing things run through his mind. Still, he seems relatively innocent, and carefree, living his life in a college town hanging out with his best friend and not worrying about much of anything. The story starts out with a hellish dream with visions of people wrapped in barbed wire as they laugh uncontrollably, their agony beyond all reason as they are tortured and odd creations trickle through the visions Gavin is having. We step back into the past after the dream, to the days of Gavin’s youth, before he meets up with, and is subjected to, the creature he later dubs Heinous, though it has had many names since its birth at the dawn of time. Heinous is chaos incarnate, a symbiote with a desire to cause pain and death while it tortures those who it chooses to do its bidding endlessly.
This is a story that pulls no punches and doesn’t apologize for the grim realities it unveils. Gavin resists the creature at first, watching as it uses him to do unspeakable things to those he loves, but then, in time, he embraces the dark cravings of the beast and releases what seems to have been buried inside him from the outset-a lust for the same evil that Heinous spawns. I have said it before in a prior review of Mr. Moon’s work-the man knows how to spin a tale. He is a story teller of the macabre and this story tears and claws at you, much as Heinous tears and claws at Gavin, shattering him both inside his head and throughout his body. I will warn you that Moon doesn’t soften the blow at any point, and kept me wondering what grand new vicious treat was waiting around the corner with every page I turned. It is interesting, because as I read this book, it almost felt as if Heinous was the incarnation of Gavin’s darker self, something he created in his own mind as a justification for his evil actions. At the same time, Heinous seems to have gravitated to the one person with the capacity to embrace his level of wretched depravity. Gavin is that person, and goes along for the ride, able to handle the visions that torture him as he does perpetrates as much evil as Heinous can offer up to the world.
As is the case with most good stories, a lot of what the interpretation of what is truth is left up to the reader to decide for themselves. All I know is the truth that came from this book was filled with a grim darkness that will stick with me for some time to come.
Heinous can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Heinous-Jonathan-Moon/dp/1461096227/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305258398&sr=1-1