When Andrew meets Beth at the Myles-Bend State Mental Hospital, he knows she has issues. She checked herself into the place because of her problems, but he can’t help falling in love with her anyway. He’s willing to put up with her constant mood swings and all the baggage she brings into the relationship. He’ll help raise her kids, give her siblings a place to stay, and even look after her creepy grandfather. After all, he has the space in the huge house left to him by his parents.
Marriage has its hardships, Andrew knows that, but there seems to be something else wrong with Beth. A dark entity grows inside her and he can’t help wondering if she might be possessed. Andrew can look past all the other drama in their new life, but the thing inside her that seems to want him dead – that’s kind of a deal breaker.
Written by 2x Splatterpunk Award-nominated author Carver Pike with an introduction by Bram Stoker and World Horror Grandmaster Award-winning author Brian Keene and narrated by Joe Hempel.
“Faces of Beth,” by Carver Pike is (in one word) wild. “Faces of Beth,” by Carver Pike is (in twenty-four words) like if Alex Michaelides’ “The Silent Patient,” had a love child with Philip Fracassi’s “Boys In The Valley,” but make it an extreme horror. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride, complete with a petrifying priest and a disturbing demonic possession- hold on to your rosaries folks!
We follow Andrew, who has recently allowed his wife to move in. Life with Beth is great- Andrew is truly in love with her, and he’s looking forward to spending the rest of his life with this girl. How heart-warming. How romantic. How beautiful. Nah, I’m just messing with you. In a horrifying turn of events, he is also forced to open his doors to his wife’s unconventional family. Whilst his new kids Peter (15) and Alex (6) are a handful- but what you’d expect, and her twin sister Ruby may cause problems in their marriage: her brother Gore, and the slightly terrifying priest “Father Dennis,” pose a much greater threat to the newly-weds. One night Andrew decides to follow Gore on one of his late night escapades- he is already convinced the blood that Gore treks up to the shower when he returns from these witching-hour fiascos is human- but what he unveils is far worse than he could have ever comprehended. That took a nasty turn huh.
The extreme horror genre has a few prejudices surrounding it. The first is the quality of the writing. Many people who haven’t truly seen what the sub-genre has to offer, contend that the blood and guts often comes at the cost of the prose. Faces of Beth absolutely contradicts that, with Pike’s authorial voice being one of the novel’s highlights. The other huge assumption I want to tackle are the plots. For readers looking simply for the violence and shock and taboo, this is done well by an array of talented authors. The work of these authors (which I am by no means detracting from) do NOT define the entirety of the extreme however. “Faces of Beth” by Carver Pike is an extreme horror novel, featuring all the blood and guts and taboo you would expect- but also offers a sophisticated plot, well-researched and respectful commentary on mental health, and one of the scariest and most intimidating demons across the WHOLE genre, not just within extreme horror.
Normally here I would briefly discuss the cast of characters. I’m not going to do that in this review. Why? There’s a pretty integral plot twist at around the 30% mark involving them. This book is relatively short, sharp and free on kindle unlimited- if you are even slightly intrigued, I implore you to pick it up now. Now for full disclosure, I guessed this twist before it approached. You may well do the same. At the time, I was concerned this would detract from the story, or ruin my experience, but rest assured, beyond that plot twist Pike has a lot more in store for us, including but not limited to:
- A graphic passage involving spoons and eyeballs
- A face to face showdown with a psychopathic, naked pensioner.
- A gritty, 70s-feel underground sex dungeon.
“Faces of Beth,” by Carver Pike is an adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed plunge into identity and family, via the terrifying Father Dennis of course. It showcases the perfect balance of viscera and bloodshed, and nuanced mental health commentary. Beyond the sick, and the small intestines lies a gripping plot packed with three-dimensional characters- which absolutely keeps you guessing. If you’re ready to embark on a journey that will make your heart race, head reel, and ingrain a permanent fear of elderly priests in you forever, then hold on tight.