by Barbie Wilde
Voices of the Damned is a collection of short stories by Barbie Wilde that can be graphic, very sexual and sometimes violent in ways that some readers may find disturbing.
The first story, Sister Cilice, is about a woman who was coerced into becoming a nun by parents who repeatedly told her she was sinful. She indulges in self flagellation and is tormented by sexual fantasies about her priest, eventually equating pleasure with pain. She finds an ancient book that guides her to a way to indulge her perverse needs.
The story is dark and disturbing, graphically detailing sado-masochistic acts. The author has invented a new word, scrupulosity, which fits oddly well in context.
The stories that follow have similarly disturbing themes. Zombie gang rape, a creepy kid who can heal or kill with a touch, a soul-sucking succubus, a demon who attacks through sleep paralysis and more. If you have any triggers, there is sure to be at least one of the stories that will confront you with it. There are no holds barred in either horrific torture or graphic sexuality in all its most perverse forms.
The writing itself is good and depicts some of the most disturbing imagery I've ever read far too effectively. Extreme Horror readers will find a real treasure in this one. The book is extremely well presented, with brilliant artwork in full color and a lot of thought put into layout and graphic design.
Though the subject matter may be a little too over the top for my personal taste, I have to appreciate the artistry that has been put into both the visual and verbal presentation of the work. This could well become a collector's item among those who are drawn to the unusual and offbeat in the Horror realm.
It feels weird to give a high star rating to something I actually found difficult to read, but it was only my own squeamishness that caused that difficulty and the quality of the all too effective prose is deserving of the 4.5 stars I've given it.