The man that wandreth out of the way of wisdom shall abide in the congregation of the dead. – Proverbs 21:16
I bought Congregations of the Dead over a year ago on a bit of a lark because it was cheap. Which isn’t to sale that it didn’t sound right up my alley. A country noir/urban fantasy/horror mashup with significant pulp influences? (A secondary character is named Carter DeCamp in an obvious homage to Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp and Manly Wade Wellman’s characters Silver John and John Thunstone seem obvious influences as well.) What I didn’t realize is how damn good it would be.
Congregations of the Dead is the second in Griffin & Price novel, and I was a little thrown off at first as Moore and Rutledge tied up loose ends from the first book. But other than that hiccup, I found this an easy entrée into the series. I will definitely be picking up the other books though. I would say start with book one, but it looks like it isn’t available right now.
Carl Price is the sheriff of Wellman, Georgia, a rural county in the mountains. Wade Griffin is a mercenary-turned-private investigator. Both men are more than competent in the scrap, but they aren’t ready for what has come to Wellman. It involves the sort of preacher who you don’t want to invite into your house, if you know what I mean.
I loved this book. It is a genre mashup, as I mentioned above, and it works on each level. As a country noir, it reminds me a lot of Brian Panowich’s books (also set in north Georgia and following a rural sheriff). As an “urban” fantasy, the action and worldbuilding are top-notch. As a horror, it has some great atmosphere and set pieces (Griffin and Price’s first foray into the church is particularly chilling). And you know I love a book that wears its pulp influences on its sleeve. This book doesn’t just make me want to read the other Griffin & Price books. It makes me want to pick up a collection of Wellman’s John Thunstone stories and for my Haffner Press collection of Silver John novels to hurry up already.
5 of 5 Stars.