Damaged Souls is the first novel by David Bernstein that I’ve read and it was so fantastic, it certainly won’t be my last. I heard some of his past titles were excellent, but he has an immense amount of work coming out in 2014 too! Damaged Souls was the perfect novel for me to start with as I love gothic, dark, and sinister tales dealing with demons and well…eerie candlelight. I love candlelight. I mean even the cover alludes to a vintage horror creeping into modern society.
Munyok is a demon being pursued in NYC, but he’s quickly sent back to hell. We won’t see the last of him though as he vows to fight his way back. Meanwhile, a traffic accident changes the life of John Crawford. His life becomes a living hell and he’s offered a deal. You know those ominous life or death deals that happen in all the good vs. evil stories. You’ll have to read the book to see if John can stop the gates of hell from opening…and you’ll really want to know as your flipping pages faster and faster with a speed you didn’t know you could read at. You’ll feel the story spinning out of control as John’s life spins out of control, but soon Bernstein centers us again and keeps us focused with action.
This novel reminds me of some of Stephen King’s short stories, with more length added to it, and a more supernatural like demon(s) that we don’t always see in the form of a human. There are some parts that are horrifying, but they always fit in the story line and your gut is already so tore up emotionally that really any real blood shed just whizzes by as the story sucks you in mentally and physically.
I tore through this novel in one whole night. I was really impressed by Bernstein’s writing and his grasp on the full gamut of human, and underworld, emotions. Definitely haunting, it also lets you take a long look at the choices made in life and what the outcomes might be from them. Horrible things happen in every day life and Bernstein takes it a step further by demonizing it and creating a phenomenal hero who overcomes the odds and tries to save the world.
I HIGHLY recommend Damaged Souls and I hope that David keeps writing such gut-wrenching, heart-tugging, and largely dimensional characters who are exploring their role in the world and their emotional make-up. This is a great “any time” read, but I certainly recommend for those long Fall and Winter days and nights when you can snuggle under a blanket, light a candle, and read deep into the night.
Damaged Souls, Synopsis~
John Crawford wasn’t able to deal with the pain and took the easy way out. At least he thought he did. Instead, he’s been offered a deal by a nightmarish creature and given a second chance at life. But he’s no longer human. And he’s been assigned an impossible task. He must kill a demon before it opens the gates of Hell and brings about the apocalypse. If John succeeds, the human race will be safe and he can become human again. If he fails, mankind will perish and he will be lost for all eternity.
David Bernstein, Biography~
David Bernstein is a dark fiction/horror writer who lives in NYC, but is originally from upstate NY and loves the countryside. His novels and novellas include The Tree Man, Damaged Souls, Amongst the Dead, Tears of No Return, Machines of the Dead, and the Bizarro title Fecal Terror.
He writes like a madman and this year (2104) has books coming from the Samhain Horror line–Witch Island and Apartment 7C, and from DarkFuse, the titles Relic of Death and Surrogate, and from Severed Press, the third installment of the Machines of the Dead trilogy. He loves hearing from his readers, so drop him a review, send him an email, or contact him on Facebook.
You can check out his blog and information at http://davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com/
Next up for David is a novella, also published by Samhain Horror, call The Tree Man. It just went on sale the first week of January and has some rave reviews. I’ll be putting up a review of that here within the next few days in accordance with a Facebook launch party I’m having for David and another horror author Adam Cesare. Mark your calendars for Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 from 9-11 p.m. EST and watch this blog for more details or go to http://www.facebook.com/HookofaBook.
Here’s The Tree Man Synopsis~
Women and children have been mysteriously disappearing from Evan’s town. And now Evan may know why. He was climbing a tree in the woods when he saw a decrepit old man toss a helpless woman into the mouth of a hideous tree-like creature.
Evan knows he can’t stop the man and the creature by himself, but he also knows no one will believe a kid with such a wild story. Only his best friend, Peter, can help him confront this terrifying evil. But if they aren’t careful, they will soon be missing too.
At 84 pages, it’s a quick read, so there’s no reason to pick up a good read you can have with for an hour or two.