"The Devil's Equinox" Book Review
Written by Tony Jones
Published by Flame Tree Press
Written by John Everson
2019, 255 pages, Fiction
Released on 19th June, 2019
With the witching hour approaching, Austin is angrily stewing in his favourite drinking establishment after yet another argument with his wife Angie. Since the arrival of their baby daughter, all the couple seems to do is fight, and whilst deciding whether to order a final drink for the road, a sultry woman sits beside him and they start to chat. As the pub clock is about to strike midnight she asks Austin to make a wish and he responds with an off-hand comment, “I wish my wife was dead. How’s that for romantic?” You just know he’s going to regret it…
The next day when Austin has returned home from work, the mysterious woman has introduced herself to Angie and is apparently living next door. Austin brushes this off as a coincidence. As she is also looking for a job, before you know it, she is their new babysitter. But remember that wish? Surprise, surprise, very soon it comes true and before Angie is cold in her grave and Austin is shacked up with the lovely Regina in what becomes an incredibly predictable, one-dimensional and very dull horror novel peppered with 1970s-style bondage softcore sex scenes.
Austin is one of the stupidest and most gullible characters I have come across in a long time and, considering the majority of the book is based around him satisfying his lust, there is not enough on offer to build a convincing horror novel. In the second half of the story, the sexy Regina takes a blindfolded Austin (didn’t I say he was gullible?) to a dodgy S&M joint called Club Equinox where is there are all sorts of freaky goings on. Ranging from group sex, domination, fetish, whips and weirdos dressed up as nuns and priests. However, it has a much darker satanic side which the naive Austin is led straight into, penis first. As lead characters go, this guy is pitiful.
The softcore sex sequences are astonishingly tiresome and repetitive. Considering a fair bit of the story is set in Club Equinox makes a relatively short novel seem much longer than it is. I lost count of the number of very similar descriptions of female nether regions; shaved, bushy, partially shaved and so on. These images of the female form are never ending and the book comes across as a bad porno from a bygone era. Before you know it, Austin is getting a blow-job with an audience taking in all the action, it is that kind of book.
The Devil’s Equinox lacks any kind of subtlety and is as far away from Ira Levin’s masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby as can possibly be. If you enjoy supernatural horror, or similar stuff with an occult theme, I would suggest you try Adam Nevill or Ramsey Campbell, who have the power to scare rather than dish out cheap thrills by endlessly describing fake nuns copulating.
At a certain point Austin’s baby daughter Ceili is targeted and the story does pick up slightly as it hurtles towards an ending you will see coming from a mile away. However, the very final couple of pages did raise a smile and Austin finds himself in a compromising position of a rather different kind! If you are looking for a trashy B-movie style horror novel – which would have been perfect material for the Scream Queen 1980s era, Sybil Danning would have been a cool Regina – then you might find this a mildly diverting and sleazy read. But if you prefer something slightly more substantial, The Devil’s Equinox is a rather shallow and empty experience.
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