Little Heaven

“There is an old saying that goes: Evil never dies; it merely sleeps. And when that evil awakes, it does so soundlessly—or almost so. Even insects can scream.” -Little Heaven

If you take two mercenaries and a bounty hunter, throw in an evil preacher, some monsters, and kids that need to be rescued, you wind up with an fascinating horror story called Little Heaven. In this tale, three unlikely heroes come together to face an unspeakable evil. Split between the past and the present, the story tells two tales, one of how the characters came to be in the mid 60’s, and their reunion for one last adventure in year 1980. It’s a mixture of action, sweeping characterization, colorful prose, and imaginative horror.

The book opens with a mysterious evil seeping up from the ground and spreading its malevolent will. A girl in an isolated farmhouse is kidnapped. Three killers in their waning years hear the call of a thing they’ve tried so hard to escape. The odd details slowly come together to form a picture. These three killers shared a past together. Something happened to them, a thing that bounds them together, yet haunts their memories. There’s Micah, a Korean war vet turned gun for hire. There’s Eb, a black Englishman who works as a mercenary. Then there’s Minny, a female shootist and bounty hunter. It’s an intriguing trio for a horror story. Yet they’re not the only viewpoint characters. There’s the preacher who hears voices and scams his flock into following him into the wilderness. There’s the concerned aunt who is trying to track down her nephew. And then there’s The Long Walker, a creature delighted by violence and the harbinger of the things to come.

On one hand, the book is a fun exploration of the three main characters. Each has a mysterious background that is slowly revealed as the story progresses. They all have their odd quirks and motivations. While there are aspects of them you might despise, there’s also aspects worthy of admiration. Yet the story also explores the villains, be it the lowly goons serving their evil masters or the head henchmen themselves. Beyond that is the fantastical side of the story. That’s where the horror comes in. It starts as a monstrosity formed by beasts and insects, a collection of horrors serving a greater evil. As the story rolls along, you work your way up the food chain toward the thing pulling the strings. Without ruining the surprise, it’s a great premise with lots of fun reveals.

In regards to the content of the story, it’s very much in the realm of Stephen King. There’s graphic violence, macabre horror scenes, some unsettling sexual content and with the exploration of the villains, it touches on racism and blasphemy. All in all, it’s not a story for the squeamish or sensitive as it strikes at a lot of nerves. But the character explorations are compelling, and the prose does a wicked job of bringing the scenes to life. It makes for a great horror story. Plus, the ending is pretty good which is a thing King sometimes struggles with.

With the handful of characters and the two time periods for the story, there are several layers to the book. There’s the remote religious compound run by a zealot with questionable intentions. There’s the three gunmen, each with a past and present story. In the past, the book tells some of their adventures together. Those adventures eventually lead up to the horror-fantasy angle of the tale as they find Little Heaven and the things that lurk in the woods. Flash forward to the preset and those same gunmen must face the horrors of their past culminating in the climax of the story. It’s part morality tale in the dangers of unquestioning religion, and the gray values of the lives of those in service to violence for hire. Yet it’s also an exploration in horror, in what things can scare us the most, and a question to how far you would go to save those you love.

Overall, Little Heaven is a great character driven horror story with a fun plot. It’s not often you get a book where the main characters are mercenaries and are faced with things beyond the normal world. It’s one thing to face the horrors of mankind, but it’s another to confront things beyond this world. With a story uniquely crafted in two separate time periods with colorful characters and haunting horror elements, I give this book a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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