Friday, July 12, 2013

NightWhere by John Everson

I've waited a bit to review this book for one simple reason--it evoked a lot of thoughts and I wanted to sort through them before I said much. 

This book is amazing for a number of reasons I'll cover, but most importantly it does something that all very good books do--it sends your thoughts back your own life.  It makes you think about your actions and what you do, have done, and what you desire to do.  And for me, it made me sympathize with an MC while wondering what I would do in his shoes.   

On the surface, NightWhere by John Everson is a novel about a man who goes to great lengths for a woman he loves.  It's a couple involved in swinging lifestyle brought on by her insatiable needs. 

I've known swinging couples before.  I can tell you that it's always one partner or another pushing the issue.  Maybe one is gay or bi, maybe the other is just greedy.  But one person is always pushing that issue and the other goes along with them out of love. 

How much are you willing to accept just to be with the person you love?  That's a tough question to ask.  NightWhere really does address that issue in a big way.  Sometimes it's hard to watch this happen and Everson does a remarkable job navigating the plot and characters through this initial mud into something darker. 

When Rae, the wife, pushes harder to satiate her desires it leads the couple into the world of BDSM.  Thankfully, Everson doesn't picture the world of BDSM through the lens of some babe in the woods but rather as a vanilla that isn't a prude.  It's refreshing to not get some learner's course on this stuff. 

The most important aspect to NightWhere, for me anyways, was the decent into the underground club and where it ultimately leads.  I'm not going to spoil things, but it's no big secret our desires lead us into terrible places.  The Seven Deadly Sins were named so because when we over-indulge in them we take ourselves in a spiritually bankrupt state.   

What do you desire?  If God wasn't looking and you could have what you wanted, what would it be?  And if it was a dark, terrible desire, would you still want it? 

Sex gets us into trouble.  Almost always, it gets us into some kind of trouble.  NightWhere does a great job of sliding us into that trouble without us totally being aware.  We are titillated by the voyeurism.  But once we look, we cannot look away, and that leads us into true horror.

NightWhere is a club.  It's not some ordinary sex club.  It's underground and hidden away.  You can only get there by invitation.  You must choose to be there.  This is important when we partake in our indulgences.  We choose to gorge ourselves at the buffet, we choose to make money to buy things, we choose to attack out of anger.  And at NightWhere, you can choose to do anything you want.

The other element to NightWhere that had me buzzing was the nature of the relationship our flesh has with our desires.   I wasn't surprised to learn that every lottery winner gains a bunch of weight.  We all indulge in something and most often it is with our flesh.  We consume. 

But what if that goes too far?  And who is to say what "too far" is defined to be?  Where do you draw the line?  The kinksters like to use the mantra Safe, Sane and Consensual.  But what if you could break any of those?  What if you could break all three and get away with it? 

NightWhere reminded me a bit of the David Guy's novel Autobiography of My Body in that it forced me to question my own thoughts and feelings about desires, flesh, and what is too far.  Everson brings out his MC's heroic elements perfectly until it is an obsession just as strong as his wife, Rae's.  And in the final third of the book we are taken through a world we hope we never have to see.  Rae's husband does anything, and I mean anything, to get her back.  Plus, there is a certain toy used by a plaything I once sketched out and tried to design, and seeing it used in this book didn't make me feel any better. 

This book was nominated for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award and I knew it would.  Anything that provokes that much thought while making me squirm in my seat as I turn the pages is something special indeed.  If you haven't read this book yet, you need to.  Anybody who is a fan of horror needs to put this on their reading list. 


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