Into HELL with James Roy Daley

James Roy Daley is one of those horror novelists that drives his imagination to excess. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, horror is a gratuitous medium and this kind of explicit detail is necessary to instill the emotion of horror in the reader.

J.R. Daley does not skimp on detail. I promise.

Into Hell is one of those treasures that really knocks Stephen King from his throne. I’m not kidding. The impressive thing is, Daley can do this without inventing new monsters a ’la Clive Barker. Don’t get me wrong, that’s an impressive feat to accomplish, but taking time-honored boggarts and subverting their tropes makes the horror all the more… alien.  By doing this, Daley throws you, the reader into an uncanny valley where even the bad guys aren’t comfortable and in control. Talk about disorienting.

Our heroine goes to hell in this book. The title isn’t figurative or a metaphor. No, she sincerely rots in the abyss throughout its pages. Why she must, you don’t truly know or really care by the end of the book. He doesn’t touch on this too much because the terror begins immediately only to have the plot shift halfway through. Before the first chapter is finished, you feel like you are in a solipsistic playset owned by Leopold and Loeb. Genius, relentless, and murderous – fascist. There’s two scoops of goop on every page and I guarantee this. But, c’mon folks, hell has to be burly, right? Daley has made this so and you aren’t ever quite certain of where you are, even when things look mundane. If hell is this awful, I swear I’m going to be good from now on. No more premarital sex. No more cussin’. I’ll even tithe to the United Way.

Most of you reading this have played survival horror video games. Forbidden Siren, Silent Hill, Res. Evil; you know the lot. The feel of this book is lockstep with that immediacy and I even found myself tapping my Kindle in hopes that I could control Stephenie so she could do the right thing. Alas, it is only a book. It’s only a book…

Get Into Hell if you really want to experience a mirthless horror (there is no levity here – none) that will leave you second-guessing your atheism. This Canuck has crafted a world so terrible that you can once again fear Ol’ Scratch. Canada doesn’t mess around. With punk rock they spawned Dayglo Abortions and with literature they present James Roy Daley.

Six hundred sixty-six stars.


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