By Frank Cavallo
Diana Mancuso is an FBI agent resigned to the relative safe haven of teaching and desk duties. Her superior Richard Norris will go to no lengths to get his star agent back into the field again. When a mass murderer escapes from high security prison after forty plus years, it’s all bets are off as the bureau unleashes a full-fledged man hunt to secure his incarceration once again. Meanwhile, Carter an offbeat museum tour guide of sorts has been hired by Victor Gregorian to translate an ancient tablet that may very well hold the very destiny of mankind as we know it. Are the two linked somehow? Find out the spine tingling, spell binding truth in Rites of Azathoth.
This will mark the premier introduction in reading endeavors each from Bedlam Press and Frank Cavallo. Each the publishing house and author present a formidable combination in a seemingly match made in heaven.
There is plenty of intrigue and allure for the discerning horror fan through this novel. Make no mistake about it, Rites of Azathoth is not your typical over exposed zombie folklore, paranormal passé or supernatural over sensationalism. One does not have to be a horror aficionado to appreciate this reading journey. Influences of Thomas Harris come to mind with just enough unique stylistic prose to keep any reading audience morbidly fixated. There is truly something for everyone here. With plenty of suspense, beckoning notions of the unknown and blood, (oh yes there shall be blood) Cavallo presents a certifiable virtuoso in terror as a classic in the making.
The author’s extensive, applied knowledge of FBI protocol and proceedings is borderline unnerving or at very least it is indicative what a tremendous undertaking was involved in the research department. Passages referring to ancient languages, culture and customs are conveyed to forever suspend the plausibility of this tale. The readership lives vicariously through Rites of Azathoth and never questions the authenticity along the way.
A subtext of Diana and Richard’s relationship is a welcome detour to provide levity from the gruesome. On a virtual subconscious level we find ourselves investing deeper into their interaction while the author accentuates all the empathetic components to make the couple more likeable and readily easy to relate to. We find a little of ourselves in either Diana or Richard and the origin of their taboo endearment becomes void of consequence.
The execution scenes which ultimately become the FBI crime scenes are creepy as hell. Kudos to Cavallo for originality here and inspiring many a skin crawling moment. Suffice to state many readers may be prompted to double check the door locks at night or sleep with the lights on for a spell.
Carter’s reluctant motivation in taking on the employ through Gregorian will captivate readers. In the midst of plot escalation, his moral dilemma presents an undeniable conflict. A very humanistic quality is exploited. One does not have to parallel what this character is going through to be able to relate making this tale all the more compelling.
The plot moves swiftly and steadily shifting from Carter and Gregorian’s endeavor to the FBI investigation and back again. It keeps the tale fresh. No question readers will be prompted to tear through the pages to see how each the story lines tie in together.
Author Frank Cavallo’s stylistic prose is a fine blend of multi-layered suspense with complex variables yet executed with such finesse the reader is engaged rather than over whelmed. A tremendous amount of story construction is presented within a mere two hundred thirty two pages. Rites of Azathoth is the type of tale that translates so vividly it’s virtually inevitable a film adaptation will evolve.
If you’re unfamiliar with Cavallo’s work or any other titles from Bedlam Press, Rites of Azathoth is an excellent place to start. Should your appetite be anything like mine, I’m confident you’ll be hooked from chapter one.