Tuesday, September 20, 2016

After Life by Andrew Neiderman

After Life
by Andrew Neiderman
1993 Berkley

Recently blinded Jessie and her basketball coach Lee have moved to a small town which has a mild undercurrent of menace.  The high school basketball team would rather fight than score and the town seems to have a fawning devotion for Dr. Beezly.  Meanwhile, Jessie keeps hearing digging in the cemetery next door.

The build up is equal parts Rosemary's Baby and Stepford Wives.  Lee gets seduced by a teacher while Dr. Beezly turns into Satan and tries to rape Jessie in a semi-hallucinatory scene of angry red devil penis with a blinking eye.

Jessie is convinced that when people die, Dr. Beezly has a body dug up from the cemetery and transfers the dead soul into the newly dead body.  Lee is in a car accident and Jessie desperately tries to keep Dr. Beezly away from him.  These are the most effective scenes, with an atmosphere of dread and helplessness.

Luckily, Jessie manages to convince a priest to grab some holy water and head to the cemetery.  The caretaker is one of Beezly's henchmen who buries a pick in the priest just as he's splashed with holy water, turning him to ash.

Beezly taunts Jessie in the cemetery like Freddie Kreuger until she manages to grab the bottle of holy water and splash it in his general direction.  Decent round one, things are starting to pick up, let's see where - oh, the holy water worked.  

Beezly is found dead in his bed from a heart attack with burns on his face.  But what about all of Satan's pawns, the ones with evil souls, who run the town?  No, they're fine.  They have their original souls, just have a few blackouts centering around some financial transactions.

Underwhelming is putting it lightly.  Everything is less than it seemed.  The basketball team turning violent?  Just high spirits - a little bit of discipline sets them straight.  And Satan had manifested himself on Earth to take dead bodies, dig up another dead body, somehow combine the two dead souls to make one live soul, all for the purpose of temporarily possessing them to sign over their mortgages for shady investments.

This book doesn't deserve blinking Satan penis.  The suspense and atmosphere are effective, but the plot just didn't cut it.  Neiderman also wrote Pin, so he knows his creepy.  I'll have to give one of his earlier books a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment