Review: The Goat Parade by Peter Dudar

The Goat Parade by Peter Dudar
Grinning Skull Press (March 2018)
300 pages; $23.58 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Peter Dudar hit the scene hard with his Stoker finalist A Requiem For Dead Flies, offering a style that evoked the best of Bentley Little and Rick Hautula. He returns with The Goat Parade, a novel that hits the gas full throttle in a thrilling supernatural tale that might remind readers of some other guy from Maine.

A quartet of characters lead the charge into a twisting, churning Dante-esque plot which threatens to end mankind, or at least usher in an evil they cannot fathom. The cult that drives the story has been terrorizing the small town with animal sacrifices, murder, and satanic movements that signal a desire for a darkness which devours the souls of men and women. A bluesman, Tobacco Joe, finds himself back in the clutches of the devil himself. After he sold his soul decades ago for fame and fortune that never came to fruition, he suffered in prison for murdering the men who attacked his family. Dark hands now guide him as he jumps back into the club scene, hoping to earn back what he wished he’d never relinquished.

On the flip side is Erik Marsh and Svetlana Barnyk, a reporter and gypsy who meet during one of her performances and find their destinies intertwined. He wishes to hold onto his son and his own soul while working the crime beat, knowing that the path he’s on will leave him damaged forever. She has been cursed with a psychic gift that some dark figure wishes to reclaim; an entrancing woman who seeks a peaceful life, wishing only to help those she encounters.

Their paths cross in blazing horror, often bloody and violent, and it is old school at its best. Dudar holds nothing back in this wild novel that crosses the supernatural with the evil of men’s own desires. His writing is lean but colorful, the characters real and full without the pitfalls of many other books of this scope.

Recommended for fans of exciting horror that harkens back to the golden age of the ’80s, a solid compliment. The Goat Parade rarely relents, leaving readers breathless when the final twist arrives in a final act that is anything but expected.

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