Edward Lee's "The Golem": A Review
Edward Lee, by far, has one of the sickest imaginations that I've ever come across. Granted, I knew what I was getting myself into having read some of his other works like "Flesh Gothic" and "City Infernal". Regardless of how prepared you are, Lee still manages to give you a sucker punch or two straight to your gut. I had decided to take a little break from Lee, as his stories tend to be repetitive. Even with the never ending supply of inspiration and mystery that the theory of Hell can bring, I needed a change from the onslaught of demonic stories. I felt relieved when I started getting into "The Golem" and realized it was a step away from what Lee usually offers. Does Lee mention Hell or descending into it? Certainly. Thankfully, it's not the focal point. If your mind tends to lean toward the macabre, horrific or deranged, then don't be afraid to let Lee's imagination suck you in.
When Seth, asuccessful video game designer, and girlfriend Judy decide to move into their dream house in Lowensport, Maryland, all seems blissfully perfect. Although Seth and Judy can't quite put their finger on it, something about the town's citizens doesn't seem quite right. However, when the whispers of the townsfolk reach Seth's ears, he can't help but delve into the secret history of the town. What he finds is a twisted tale of bloodshed, demonic cults and savage crimes against humanity that can disturb even the hardest of hearts. Deciding that the past belongs in the past, Seth and Judy settle into their new home together. Suddenly, strange things begin appearing on their property and the two begin to suspect that something from long ago hasn't been buried with the rest of Lowensport's skeletons. As more and more horrible tales begin resurfacing, someone has put a price on Seth's head. What could Seth possibly have found that warrants a bounty? What dark secrets are Seth and Judy hiding? More importantly, why does the town want to swallow them whole?
Let me start of by saying that this novel is utterly disgusting. If you are easily offended, squeamish or have a high religious standard, DO NOT pick up this book. If you're naturally curious, unafraid and have a will and stomach made out of iron, this story will still challenge your nerve. Once I started reading this novel, I could not put it down. It's gripping, and there is always a new secret to uncover in every chapter. The need to see what secret was being uncovered next drove me to finish the story with the speed of lightning. Seth and Judy are actually two well rounded characters. Judy has her own unique set of flaws, and that makes her a more down to earth, real character. Seth seems more oblivious, almost naive, to what is going on around him. Which is another quality that makes him more believable. Between the two, anyone can find a trait that makes them identifiable. Whether it's Seth's workaholic tendencies, modesty or affectionate ways, or Judy's intelligence, perseverance or her inclinations to give into temptation. While the novel doesn't solely focus on Hell, it does revolve around hellish creatures and religious sects. While it is a nice change, it doesn't veer far enough away from Lee's comfort zone to really be considered original. If I claw my way through the mounds of left over gore, I'm certain that I could uncover four nasty stars for this helplessly offensive story.