This is a great way to end my final book review for this year. “When The Devil Climbs” by author DRAKE VAUGHN is a psychological thriller that reminds us that the true horror lies within ourselves. Not that this isn’t a horror book. “When The Devil Climbs” is filled with the gory stuff and the description of that gore is enough to make you wince at times. As all good horror SHOULD!
The story revolves around four men, all ex convicts, who are assigned to replace a billboard almost in the middle of nowhere. They are thrown together because it’s a part of their parole and none of them have any bonds to speak of. For one of those men, Russ, this is his last assignment before heading by bus to see his estranged son. It’s all he can think about and just wants to get the job done and be gone.
Of course this isn’t going to happen. As soon as the men are set up to do the job they are attacked by pigs. Yes, PIGS. Nasty pigs. Bloodthirsty pigs. And most terrifying of all, man eating pigs. With three of the men trapped on the billboard decks, and the fourth unsure how to deal with these creatures from the ground, things quickly fall apart in a blood soaked pig eating rampage.
Everything the remaining men need to survive or call for help with are down below with the pigs who seem to be breathing and excreting a green snot like substance. Is it rabies? A virus? And why are the pigs acting more like a wild pack of Cujos instead of the benign creatures we usually associate them with?
This is where “When The Devil Climbs” really becomes interesting. We start to learn about these men and their past. Their deeds, both good, bad, and really bad, are laid out through either conversations or flashback. Facing the burning heat, and with no food or water, their mental focus soon becomes unstable, forcing them to have to make some very life altering decisions if they are to survive.
And it is the psychology of these men that makes “When The Devil Climbs” more than your average horror read. Much like the TV show “The Walking Dead” and the early works of Stephen King, this book isn’t just about the scary, unnatural things the characters encounter. It’s about how they each behave and their personalities and thought processes behind what’s happening that makes it such a great read.
These men are all not very nice to put it mildly. Their past deeds are horrendous and learning about them brings them so much depth it’s hard not to be affected by them. And you will be affected. You’ll find yourself wanting them to have some sort of redemption whether it be through escaping the horrors below or even through succumbing to them as a penance for a life not well led.
Even the ending will have you reeling as you realize the true horrors are those made of what we are as people and not necessarily our outward circumstances. It’s a gripping and powerful psychological study that has enough blood for the hardcore fans, and plenty of nuance for fans of thrillers.
I highly recommend “When The Devil Climbs” and you can buy it right now by just clicking the picture at the top. Let me know what you think of “When The Devil Climbs” in the comments below. And don’t forget to visit MY OFFICIAL AMAZON WORLD OF TERROR PAGE for all your horror movie needs.
Keep it bloody.