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Edward Lee's Lucifer's Lottery: A Novice Review
I'd heard a little bit about Lee's novels from fellow Richard Laymon enthusiasts. Of Lee's diverse selection of stories, Lucifer's Lottery was the one that struck me with the most intrigue. After everything, I'm glad I read the novel as it's definitely the most... disturbing... story I've ever read. However, whether or not that's praise or slander I'm not quite sure. Even days after finishing the book, it still lingers in the back of my mind. It's haunting me...
In this story you'll me Hudson. A man driven by his faith and only steps away from fulfilling his destiny by joining the priesthood. With only a week to go before he starts his final steps to becoming a priest, he is given the rare opportunity to take a guided tour or Hell. An incredible chance that is only offered to one person every six hundred and sixty-six years. Virtuously, he agrees to descend into the fiery depths as to follow in Christ's footsteps. Hudson figures it a logical experience that he can use to help convince youths into joining Christianity. After all it's not a sin to take a tour... or is it? The underworld is a constant hustle and bustle comparable to any well oiled industrial city. Needless to say, Hudson is awestruck at the demonic monstrosities that dwell in the netherworld. Everything is completely opposite of the living world and defies all logic and common sense. Cruel punishments that Hitler would be proud of, macabre buildings made of skin and organs as well as lust and fleshly pleasures exist everywhere. Not to mention demons in all shapes and sizes that defy all sane imagination. After the tour, Hudson is given an offer that's almost too good to be true. An offer that will rock Hudson's faith down to the very core.
I will give Lee huge credit for his vivid imagination. Not just anybody could dream up a Hell as exclusive as he has. I think any writer or aspiring writer should strive to reach this level of creative genius. This novel alone totally flips all that I was taught to believe about Hell, and if Judgement is truly as harsh as in the story, most of us could be in for a long long eternity.
As sickeningly beautiful as the scenery is, the novel is a little hard to get into. As Lee is setting the stage to introduce the plot, there is a ton of detailed information that define how intricate Hell's political and constructional operations really are. For me, it was all incredibly confusing at first. Toward the middle of the book, all falls into place nicely and becomes the quick and intense page turner that you'd expect. The ending is surprising, yet expected. While Lee paints an incredible picture of what Hudson stands to gain by selling his soul, you lose focus on exactly who he's making a deal with. Honestly, I slapped my forehead and said 'I should have known that would happen!'
If you are religious or are faint of heart, then Lucifer's Lottery is definitely not a novel for you. Gruesome tortures, savage lusts and sinister creatures will leave your world upside down and your nights sleepless. This heat raising Hell raiser gets a 4 out of 5. Only because of the slow start is the perfect score reduced. In all honesty, I've never been very religious but this story really made me stop and think. I've always been taught to fear the fire and brimstone, but I think Mr. Lee has envisioned an afterlife that's a thousand times more heinous than we could have imagined. Well done Mr. Lee! Now that I know what he's all about, I'm sure that I'll be paying his twisted world another visit very soon.
This is it kids! I wouldn't recommend reading this one before bed...
More work from Edward Lee
- Edward Lee's 'Flesh Gothic': A Review
Pages: 404 Rating: *** 'Flesh Gothic' is another prime example of how deliciously disturbed the human mind can be. I wonder if Lee felt the tingles of pleasure writing this story as I did reading it. However, I do believe he had the red blooded...
- Edward Lee's 'City Infernal': A Review
Pages: 366 Rating: **** My first trip into Lee's Hell was with 2010's 'Lucifer's Lottery' and I decided to make a return trip with 2001's 'City Infernal'. Typically a writer's skill matures as time goes by, but I found myself enjoying this...