Sam Joyce's Tongues was published in September 2016.
Information about Sam Joyce:
Sam Joyce is a writer based in the United Kingdom. He started out writing drug laden short stories and articles on recreational drugs, which have garnered international attention after being featured on the website of notorious New York artist Mike Diana, who drew the artwork for many of the stories. A lifelong horror fan, Tongues is his first novel.
The author's stories and articles can be found here.
Information about Tongues:
When journalist Catherine Cobb arrives in the East Texas town of Elena, she quickly finds herself fighting for her life. Something is spreading through the population, turning ordinary civilians into murderers capable of committing the most heinous crimes.
As the body count continues to rise, Catherine walks into one nightmare after another, uncovering a secret plot involving a group of neo-Nazis, top-level federal government, and the strange world of the occult - with global implications.
Before long, Catherine finds herself trapped in a terrifying world that she doesn't understand. And might not escape from.
A REVIEW OF SAM JOYCE'S TONGUES
Sam Joyce's Tongues was an interesting reading experience for me, because I don't normally read this kind of horror novels. It's a surprisingly disturbing and shocking debut novel, because the author writes about such themes and issues as far-right movements, human rights, racial issues, anger, fear, hate and dark magic. It stands out among other modern novels by being brutal and twisted dark fiction and having more intriguing occult scenes than many other novels.
Before I begin to analyse the contents of this novel, I'll mention that it's one of those modern horror novels, which makes readers genuinely uncomfortable with its contents. It evokes feelings of uncomfort in the readers and forces them to face disgusting and repulsive things. If you're easily shocked or have a weak stomach, this novel may not be your cup of tea, because the author doesn't try to please everyone with his story and delivers twisted scenes in a bold way (I think it's good to mention that this novel is definitely not for everybody and especially not for children, because some of the scenes are powerfully repulsive and violent). If you're used to reading shocking material and are not easily shocked, this novel will be of interest to you, because it's something a bit different.
Tongues is a story about a freelance journalist Catherine Cobb, who is trying to interview dangerous and nasty members of neo-Nazi groups. She finds out that interviewing people in charge of these groups is not easy and she gets evasive answers to her questions. When she visits the East Texas town of Elena, she runs into serious trouble during an interview trip. This, however, is only just the beginning of her problems, because something seems to be spreading in the town and people turn into blood-thirsty murderers who are capable of doing anything, even the most heinous acts of crime and violence...
This is the beginning of a story that is filled with surprises, occult happenings and disturbing sights. As the story begins to unfold, readers are led into the world of terrifying powers that may take over the world.
The steadily rising body count and increasing amount of violence enhances the twisted atmosphere in a thrilling way, because the town of Elena used to be a peaceful place, but all of a sudden people begin to behave oddly and murder each other without apparent reason. The residents seem to be capable of doing all kinds of violent deeds to each other as if they've lost their minds (murder, death and mayhem spread across Elena like wildfire and the whole town is plunged into a gruesome nightmare).
The characterisation is good and it works well. I liked the author's way of writing about the main characters, because he made them interesting.
The author writes fluently about Catherine's feelings and her opinions about many things. Readers get to know how Catherine feels about what's going on and how she responds to what happens around her. She witnesses strange and disturbing things that threaten her life and she finds herself trapped in an environment that is strange and unknown to her.
Reading about Carmen D'Amato and his life was fascinating, because he was a nasty man who had a sinister past. I found myself intrigued by what happened to him and how he became interested in black magic and summoning spirits, because he was willing to do anything to learn the dark arts. He wanted to learn what was needed to control the spirits and make them do his bidding.
What makes Tongues more disturbing and powerful than many other novels is the author's ability to put his readers in the middle of happenings that are brutal - and even sadistic - in their violence. His depictions of black magic, spirits and sacrifices are among the most intriguing I've ever seen in modern horror novels, because he doesn't shy away from controversial material.
I'm sure that readers who enjoy reading about black magic will be glad to devour this novel. When the author begins to write about dark magic, white magic, Palo Mayombe and the book called The Inversions of Light, readers will most likely be unable to stop reading the story, because it pulses with unstoppable energy during these scenes.
I was fascinated by the author's uncanny ability to describe how a photograph can capture a moment and its atmosphere. When Catherine takes a photograph of two girls, the author fascinatingly conveys to readers how Catherine feels about the image. This is something that I've rarely seen in this kind of horror novels.
When I read this novel, I noticed that it has certain elements that feel like they've been inspired by HBO's Banshee and such films as The Crazies, American History X and The Believer, but it also has occult elements that place it into a new territory and widen its readership. It's good that the author has included occult elements into his story, because otherwise it might not have reached its full potential.
One of the things why I find the story interesting is the author's direct approach to various heinous acts committed by Carmen D'Amato and the residents of Elena, because it feels fresh and original. The story has raw power that makes readers to gaze at twisted and violent deeds and makes them think about what they've just read.
I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it's one of the most disturbing modern horror novels I've read in ages. When I finished reading it, the first thought that came to my mind was that it was an extremely hardboiled and brutal pulp horror novel, because it had plenty of action and uncensored violence.
Sam Joyce's Tongues is an interesting and a bit different kind of a horror novel with a focus on elements that are not often addressed in modern horror novels. It's an action-packed and fast-paced novel that offers readers a hellish glimpse into nightmarish happenings in the town of Elena. If you're tired of reading neat and tidy mainstream horror novels from big publishers and want to read something totally different, you should consider reading this novel, because it has plenty of disturbing elements, lots of action and fascinating occult scenes.