It’s the job of Detective McKay to unravel the mystery of the commune, especially the ritualistic nature of their last meeting, one that ended in blood. Trying to put the pieces together, he stumbles headfirst into a world of monsters and heinous acts, unprepared for the horrific plot that surrounds him.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
Communion focused on the direct aftermath of Ritual, establishing Detective McKay, who was first introduced late in book one, as the central character. His investigation leads him into danger as Stred expands upon his creative and twisted interpretation of biblical lore, namely the entities known as Abaddon and Sheol, as well as the cult involved. I found this follow up to be quite different, more in line with a police procedural and less gratuitous than Brad’s installment, however there were some scenes that still held true to that raw and explicit material I know and love. I definitely liked it, but overall I preferred the first a little more, especially with how a character such as Brad was portrayed – quite brilliantly, if you ask me. McKay was, on the surface, a grizzled man in over his head, likable enough at first, until his views on women became apparent. After that, it was difficult to root for him in any sense, but maybe that was the point – are there really any straight up good guys in a setting like this? “Father”, the despicable figure that’s at the centre of everything, made a return, and I was all for that glimpse into his evil schemes. It’s no secret that I love to hate villains, so when it comes to Stred’s ability to create a terrible person able to sicken me, he certainly does it well.
In conclusion: Communion was a high-speed sequel to its predecessor, featuring more outlandish, violent and sexual themes, this time revolving around the investigation of the events that took place in the first novella. Even though I enjoyed it, I liked the first more, due to that inside look at the cult and their ridiculous beliefs. Stred is out to disgust and shock with this trilogy, and it’s no surprise that he succeeds in doing so. I get the impression the events in Ritual and Communion are leading to something bigger and more nauseating, and I’m excited for the finale.
Father had no doubts now. The stars had spoken that evening.
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