Possessed by Peter Laws
Alison and Busby (July 2020)
330 pages; $4.57 paperback; $4.34 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
I first encountered Peter Laws in his nonfiction book The Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination With the Macabre. I stumbled over it quite by accident on Amazon, looking for who knows what, and of course by Reverend Peter Laws caught my eye. An ordained minister writing a nonfiction book about how it’s totally normal to love the dark and the weird? Sign me up.
This isn’t a review of The Frighteners, but I can say without a shred of hyperbole that it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s not about theology and religion and horror, really, but more about how none of us — especially those of us who practice a faith — should ever feel ashamed or “bad” about liking the horror genre, or the weird and the strange. It’s all part of being human; and the weird, strange, and the macabre are integral parts of the human experience. The man was speaking my language, and I was there for it.
This of course led me to his fiction series, about three books deep at the time. I decided to give the first book a try, which, of course, is always a bit of a gamble. Well-written nonfiction doesn’t always translate into well-written fiction. Regardless, The Frighteners hummed with a powerful voice, so I thought it very likely his fiction would be worth reading. Plus, the premise intrigued me: a former minister-turned atheist professor (Matt Hunter) who consults police in occult-related crimes.
As it turns out, Peter Laws’ series has now become my newest impulse buy. Matt Hunter is kind of like a spiritual Kolchak, brought in to consult the police in what appears to be demonic, occult crimes of dark spiritual nature. His purpose is to bring rational thought to the case, using his spiritual background to get to the real heart of things, very often uncovering the true, human perpetrators of said crimes. Possessed is his latest offering, and it’s just as good as his previous books.
When a murder investigation spirals into frenzied claims of demonic possession, Matt Hunter is once again called in to assist the police investigating the matter. A man has committed a gruesome atrocity, and has attributed his actions to the demon of murder, Baal-Berith. Before Matt knows it, his consult turns into a media frenzy, with himself, a collection of tormented people claiming to be possessed, a zealous local preacher, and a world-renowned exorcist at the center. Amid wild and hysterical claims of divine healing, Matt fears that, whether or not these people are suffering from actual demons or only the personal variety, real bloodshed could very well ensue before the end of the night…
And ensue it does, as the grand “healing” event descends into a dark nightmare causing even Matt to question his own convictions. And, as always, Laws is very content to leave the reader wondering — even after the case has been resolved — if very real dark spiritual forces are indeed slowly closing in on Matt Hunter himself.
Get Possessed by Peter Laws’ newest book today. (See what I did there?)