I love my job of reviewing books. I love getting chatting with authors and being able to read their work. When I received a pdf of the novella The Body Will Follow from author Rob E. Boley I read the synopsis and was hooked before even reading the first page. To my great surprise, I was even more hooked as soon as dove into the book. This is such a unique, entertaining and intriguing story that I was sad to finish it.
Carrie and Daniel, the two main characters in the book, are flawed, strong, weak, scared, awkward, unsure, lonely, sick, powerful and realistic people who are trying to figure out who they are and what their lives are. It is not an easy thing to fit so much depth of story into only 150 pages, but the way Boley does it is fantastic. He seamlessly weaves layer after layer of story together. Not only does the book focus on Carrie trying to figure out her new life, but there is such a realistic, natural growth of the relationship between Carrie and Daniel. The dynamic between the two is just as flawed and awkward and wonderful as the characters are individually.
Here I want to take a moment and mention the ghosts Boley created in his book. I am such a big fan of horror stories that take a known things (like ghosts) and make them so unique that it is like they are a brand new creation. That’s exactly what Boley has done with his ghosts. The spirits in this book are so fresh and new and I loved them!
As I said before, I was hooked before even reading the book. Just like his ghosts, Boley took a known horror plot (possession and exorcism) and made it his own. The post-possession life of a victim. As Carrie tries to fix her life after possession, we really feel her feelings of loss and emptiness. It is so entertaining to read as she picks up the pieces of herself that were ripped apart by the possessing spirits.
One of my favorite things in the book is the mythology in it. I don’t know if it is based on actual mythology and spiritual traditions or if it was invented by Bosely, but it is excellent! The exorcisms, the talismans, the hauntings…Boley, for me, has changed the game for demonic possession in horror.
Rob E. Boley is a storyteller. In the best, purest, most honest sense of the word, he creates and tells a story. Nothing is forced or out of place. I have read so many stories and seen so many movies where shock value trumps a great story. Boley doesn’t use gratuitous sex or violence solely to shock or get a reaction (don’t get me wrong, there is a good amount of sex and violence), but everything he uses is for the good of the story and works to created the best narrative possible. Everything has a purpose and works within the world he created.
As far as Boley’s writing abilities, he is outstanding! He uses so many tricks and tools to make the book entertaining. So many times I found myself impressed by how he uses words and phrases, how his side thoughts and even repeating the mantra “the body will follow” show an attention to his art that is rare and impressive.
There really is only one things in the book that I can mention here, and, like most of my critiques, it is based on my opinion alone. I would like to know more about how Carrie was possessed. It is explained and described, but I wish there was more information about it and more emotion about the reasons given. I know I am being vague because I am trying not to give any spoilers, but the whole story is full of such genuine, real emotion that it was a little surprising to not have as much of that reality and reaction to Carrie learning about her possession. On one hand, this shows that Carrie has moved on and doesn’t really care any more because she is wholly in her new life. However, on the other hand, her life got pretty screwed up and her reaction to the big discovery didn’t seem on par with what I thought it should be. It just seemed a bit glossed over.
I am so happy that I read this book! I recommend it to anyone who….actually, I just recommend it to everyone. It is scary and sexy and violent and unique and so well written. I had not heard of Rob E. Boley before, but I will definitely be looking for more of his writing. This book is a new standard of horror and you will love it.