ARC Review: CROM CRUACH by Valkyrie Loughcrewe (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: September 22, 2022
Buy Links: Tenebrous Press Site | Kindle Edition | Bandcamp

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the publisher
Trigger warnings: body horror, gore, blood, murder, homophobia, racism, transphobia, anti-traveller racism, animal death, Nazis, arson, vomit

A family is found murdered in their homes, but their bodies haven’t quite got the memo. Churches have been burned and locals are quick to accuse others of heinous crimes. Or commit them themselves. Is it a product of something folkloric or something disturbingly human?

With sharp lines, feverish and gross imagery, this horror novella feels like a nightmare with a deeply human cast.

An interview with the author will be going up on release day, September 22nd, 2022.

The pacing of this novel-in-verse is absolutely feverish. Things escalate and quickly. It’s dark and gritty, but in a way that feels organic to the violence and hysteria that informed Satanic Panic. People are dead and those who remain are quick to accuse neighbors, especially those who don’t fit whatever supposed norm reigns in their village. It’s so darkly human.

The imagery as stated above is nasty, and the dialogue gets right to the point. The verses found here are so to the point, it makes it impossible to look away. The doubt that flourishes among every cast member drags the reader along by the throat. I fell into Crom Cruach and came out it feeling like I’ve just experienced a sordid dream.

What also fascinates me is how quickly and effectively Loughcrewe gets at the uncomfortably quotidian reasons people join cults and deftly depicts how quickly things can go to shit. One moment there’s a community, next it’s mass murder and keeping a corpse alive. The approach to folklore and meddling with the supernatural beyond everyday understanding works impeccably here as well, adding to the discomfort as much as the nastiness depicted.

Definitely strange, absolutely a wild ride mired in folklore and paranoia.

One thought on “ARC Review: CROM CRUACH by Valkyrie Loughcrewe (2022)

  1. Pingback: Author to Author with Valkyrie Loughcrewe (Crom Cruach) | Jo Writes Fantasy

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