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Welcome back to my series on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic series Preacher. Book two gives us religious cults and sex maniacs. Cassidy also reveals how he became a vampire, Tulip unveils more sides to her, and things get personal between Jesse and the Saint of Killers.

The Story

“What will you do when you get the almighty by the balls?”

The story begins with the Saint of Killers finding the skeletal remains of Jesse’s family in Texas, but Jesse is ten steps ahead of him. The Preacher, Tulip and Cassidy traverse west, where they wind up at a drug-fueled orgy and meet with Herr Starr, the German member of a cult called the Grail, whose primary mission is to protect Jesus Christs’ lineage and save the world.

Tulip gets ready to fight

“A Kraut”

We first meet Herr Starr when he holds the title of Sacred Execution of the Grail, a position one step below the leading title of Allfather. Although he lives in France, he traveled to the United States after learning of a man name Jesse Custer who holds the powers of heaven and hell. Starr belives that Jesse can fulfill the Grail’s prophecy of ending the world to save the world.

The problem, however, is that Herr Starr has no idea what Jesse Custer looks like. So the German cultist instead kidnaps Cassidy and takes him to France. It is here where we meet the grotesque, cruel, selfish Allfather, D’Aronique.

Jesse condemns Agent Hoover to count three million grains of sand on a beach.

“Blessed. Blessed”

D’Aronique, a strong believer in pure incest-filled bloodlines, is determined to have a fella named Humperdoo – a direct descendant of Jesus Christ – be the messiah. Unfortunately, Humperdoo’s brains are a bit scrambled on account of all the incest, making him incapable of doing anything.

Herr Starr plans to replace Humperdoo with Jesse. When he discovers that he kidnapped Cassidy instead, Starr hires a man named Frankie to torture the vampire, and Frankie obliges with his Lee-Enfield Rifle. Starr is fine with the mistake he made, because he knows Jesse is too faithful a friend to leave Cassidy behind.

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Allfather D'Aronique,

And while Cassidy is hard to kill, he still feels all the pain a person can when they’re shot in the heart.

Tulip and Jesse make their way through France, but when it’s time to head to the Grail headquarters, Jesse leaves Tulip behind at a hotel. He more or less says something along the lines of, “it’s not because I’m sexist, or maybe it is, but I don’t want to risk losing you again even if I know you can hold your own and protect yourself. Don’t hate me. I’ll see you in New York.”

Tulip is rightfully pissed and destroys the hotel room, but has no other choice than to head back to New York. That’s the last we see of her for this book, as her relationship with Preacher lays in limbo.

“We Walk Between the Raindrops”

Meanwhile at Grail Headquarters, Jesse comes face to face with D’Aronique and Starr . The Saint of Killer also finds Jesse in France and the two make a deal; if Jesse can learn of the Saint’s forgotten past – and how he became who he was – the Saint will stop trying to kill Preacher.

With this new plan between the Saint and Preacher, all hell unleashes at the Grail. The Saint is killing anyone and everyone, and D’Aronique is desperate to save himself. Starr finds his way on the copter and rolls the Allfather off and into the sky, which results in the demise of Humerdoo and a Grail soldier.

With D’Aronique’s demise, Herr Starr becomes Allfather Starr.

Legend of a Vampire

Jesse and Cassidy manage to escape before Herr Starr blows the entire location up, and they find their way back to New York. In the last issue of book two, the comrades are on top of the Empire State Building. Cassidy tells Jesse a little bit about his history and how he became the man he is today. It’s an incredible story and a nice ending to an overall intense story.

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Until Next Time…

Preacher Book Two shows how Dillon and Ennis aren’t holding back from getting more violent and gruesome while also expanding the story to new lengths. Dillon’s vibrant and explicit illustrations nicely compliment Ennis’ outlandish storylines. There are a handful of subplots and characters that can be difficult to keep track of (I know I’ve had to reread some chapters because I forgot who was who), but that is bound to happen in such a large series. What is especially impressive is how well the story paces itself out, balancing it’s exposition and slow moments with action and violence.

Later on in the series, we will learn more about the Saint and why he kills people and his small obsession with Jesse. We will also see what happens to Tulip and her relationship with Jesse, what Starr plans to do with the Grail next, and catch up on a loved character who was absent in book two.

Preacher's protagonists smile for the camera and say the word "Arseface."
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Until we meet again with Preacher Book 3, check out the other books we’re reading here at Haunted MTL.

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Book Reviews

Brutality, Motherhood, and Art: Nightbitch Review

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“In the distance, she heard her husband in the backyard call for her , but she was not that woman anymore, that mother and wife. She was Nightbitch, and she was fucking amazing. It seemed she had been waiting for this for a very, very long time.” -pg 89, Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

Nightbitch is the debut novel of Rachel Yoder about a stay-at-home mother coming to terms with the loneliness and brutality of motherhood. The main character, only referred to as The Mother, begins to undergo a frightening change as she sinks deeper into a depressive state. She transforms into Nightbitch, an animalistic creature full of anger, bloodlust, and freedom. The Mother must utilize the help of a strange book and a group of multi-level marketing mommies to harness her newfound strength before she loses herself or her family.

The novel is a stunning commentary on the everyday violence of motherhood centered within the context of werewolf and mystical woman mythos. The Mother spends much of the book contemplating her future and the abandonment of her dreams. Specifically, she grapples with the loss of her ability to create art, her longtime passion. On a larger scale, Nightbitch examines how many women are asked to stop being individuals after having children and only become mothers–existing only in the presence of their child. The message is clear, poignant, dark, and at times, hilarious. The prose and structure of the book are abnormal, however, it works with the overall messaging and plot. 

As far as negatives go, Nightbitch was pretty ambiguous. This was by design, and created an aura of magical mysticism around many of the characters and events. The Mother is the definition of an unreliable narrator. However, towards the end of the book, I would have liked a little more clarity in what certain characters knew. 

Nightbitch is a must read for any parent. As a non-parent, I highly recommend it for those interested in feminist horror or more avant-garde approaches to horror narratives. Those who don’t like books with heavy introspection or ambiguous storytelling may enjoy something else, however I still think it is an interesting read nonetheless. 

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4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

Gothic, Ghosts, and Tlachiqueros: The Hacienda Review

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“Dread washed over me. Had she been sitting there, watching me sleep, the whole night? Her skin gleamed like candle wax in the light; then she grinned and whatever color her eyes had been before, now they turned red. In an instant, her skin transformed, dried and desiccated into leather, and her teeth grew long and needle sharp.” -pg 214, The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

The Hacienda is a gothic horror novel by Isabel Cañas set in the wake of Mexico’s War for Independence. The debut novel by Cañas, it delivers a classic haunted house tale with a twist of Mexican high society. Recently made homeless by the execution of her father, Beatriz marries Don Solórzano to escape her cruel treatment by her relatives. However, once she joins him on his estate, she finds that the promise of a new life holds dark secrets and darker spirits. She enlists the help of a priest, Andrés, to uncover both. Together, they find the home has more dangers than they bargained for. And more threats both supernatural and far too material await every corner.

I adored The Hacienda from start to finish. Cañas’s prose was accessible but full of deep imagery. While told from the perspective of both Beatriz and Andrés, neither outweighed the other. The perspectives were interesting and the transition between the two was well executed throughout the novel. I usually don’t seek out romantic books, but I loved the romantic and sexual tension between the two main characters. Specifically since the romantic tension developed within both perspectives, the relationship’s “will-they-won’t-they” felt both plausible and full of stakes. And of course, The Hacienda was spooky! I loved the way the spirits manifested and the impact that had on the characters.

My only minor criticisms would be the resolution was fairly quick and mostly offscreen. Though maybe I’m just saying that because I wanted to keep reading, even after the book ended! I also found myself slightly annoyed at the characters for not picking up on some of the more obvious clues to what had happened in the house. 

A thoroughly enjoyable gothic (and dare I say, romantic) novel that kept me on the edge of my seat, I highly recommend The Hacienda. If you enjoy haunted house tales, you will enjoy this book. 

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4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)


Preorder Isabel Cañas’s new book Vampires of El Norte now!

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Book Reviews

“The Family Game” Glimpses Into The 1%

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Are their traditions innocent or are they darker than they seem?

The Plot

Harry, short for Harriet, is a British writer gaining popularity after the publishing of her first novel. She meets Edward, a member of the widely known Holbeck family, and the two strike up a relationship. The Holbecks are high powered executives, running family businesses that bring in massive amounts of wealth. When Harry learns she is pregnant, the couple decide that it is finally time for her to meet the family.

During her first meeting with the family, Edward’s father, Robert gives Harry a vintage tape that he says holds a story that he’d like her to listen to. As Harry listens to the tape, she begins to believe that the Holbecks have done some very bad things.

As she continues visiting the family, their strange traditions are revealed to her. The games that they play traditionally involve darkness and fear. Can Harriet find out the truth about the mysterious Holbecks?

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The Verdict

Catherine Steadman outdoes herself in The Family Game. She creates such a mysterious family in the Holbecks and their dynamics are intriguing. Readers will follow Harry as she tries to determine the truth about Robert’s misdoings. The cast of family characters are a wonder to watch. We’ve all always wondered what the extremely rich live like. Harry shows us their virtues and misdeeds.

The novel really remarks on the power of wealth and the wealthy’s ability to commit audacious crimes and pay for them to go away. Robert, as the patriarch of the family, is a prime example of such. As Harry begins to discover that Robert may be confessing to a series of murders on the cassette tape, she must decide how to proceed. She knows that the power that Robert holds cannot be taken lightly.

As Harry navigates potentially deadly Christmas traditions, she races for the truth, unable to forget once she finds it. Harry is such a compelling character – a developing mother willing to risk life and limb to protect her unborn baby. Harry is brave and unapologetic and is a true testament on how to write a female main character.

It was very difficult for me to decide between 4 and 5 Cthulus, so we will call it 4.5. This is a novel I highly recommend thriller lovers check out. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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