Midas by Tyler Jones
Earthling Publications (October 2023)
Reviewed by Dave Simms
It’s about that time of year again for the Earthling Halloween book series to wow horror readers. This year’s offering from Earthling Publications and Paul Miller keeps the streak alive with the eighteenth straight winner, this time from Tyler Jones, author of Burn the Plans, another fine read. This entry scrapes the bottom of the human soul and how far one is willing to go for the ones they love, even if it means losing the riches that build the foundation of who that individual is and how deep their conviction runs. Some might find a comparison to Pet Sematery or “The Monkey’s Paw” — yet this cautionary tale breaks off from the comparisons due to Tyler’s strong talent and grasp of natural storytelling.
Deep in the mountainous town of Charwood in 1859, a family mourns the loss of a child. Young Samuel was taken too soon from Jeremiah and Emma Pevensie. A shell of a family remains, one of dull meaning, if any. Jeremiah lost his faith on that day and shunned the pastor role, turning a blind eye to the god he worshiped for so many years.
One day, Jeremiah discovers a man in the woods, a dead man holding secrets that will disrupt and change the family’s course of destiny. That man holds something that shouldn’t exist in nature, something ornately formed in pure gold. Along with that, a map speaks of a place that shouldn’t be yet delivers to Jeremiah a purpose he didn’t think possible. He and his brother set off on a journey to obtain the mystical power of turning anything into gold — even the living. What they find commands a sacrifice neither should have to pay, yet the actions Jeremiah commits begins to unravel everything he held dear, while offering him a carat of hope.
Emma and he believe this power, this would-be curse, may reassemble the shards of their lives.
Yet another is on his trail, someone from an ancient cult who desires what Jeremiah has, and much, much more. Solomon tracks his prey to the town of Charwood, a place torn asunder in grief and then altered in far worse manners.
Jones has crafted a unique novel that expounds upon the weights of grief and greed, family and fortune, in a story that burns. He allows the plot to congeal with patience, as the readers follow Jeremiah’s spiral from faith to acts no god would condone. Brick by brick, the foundation is built and the mesmerizing story takes flight while encasing the reader in a beautiful dread.
Jones’ entry into the Earthling pantheon immediately places him in the upper levels, a substantial feat given those who came before him. Others will call Tyler Jones a writer to watch, yet he’s already here and hopefully, the world will be treated to more from him soon.
Highly recommended reading as always. Tyler Jones might be new to many readers but the “gold” standard that Earthling set many years ago still remains stellar. A rich read.