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Failure by John Everson

Failure - John Everson

Aaron has a plan to attain greatness, but it will cost. He seeks out gullible failures to be part of a ritual that will bring back a now-dead witch, whose power he can then claim for his own. It’s going to be a hot bloody mess.

Aaron, our wannabe wizard, convinces Sal to gather other discontented teens. Sal himself is a sad sort, desperately wanting a girl to notice him. Aaron sweetens the deal by offering up some quality pot to those who come join in the ritual. Sal manages to recruit Raymond, Cindy (who goes by Cind part of the time), and Emily.

Raymond is in love with the idea of suicide but he never manages to follow through. At first I was a little confused as it sounded like he actually completed the act only to blink and find himself still alive. I was unclear throughout the story as to whether or not something supernatural was going on with Raymond.In any case, he keeps testing the boundaries. Cindy is testing a different set of boundaries, trading sex for drugs long before Sal comes to her with his proposition. Emily was a very brief character and I can’t recall what her failure was, if any.

So these teens get together at Aaron’s house and get high and then naked. Then as part of this ritual (which they know almost nothing about), the three of them have sex. There’s blood and other body fluids but they’re pretty high and remember it as some of the best sex ever. So initially, it looks like Cindy didn’t realize this ritual’s purpose was to bring back this dead witch, as she contemplates who knocked her up. But then later on it sounds like she knew from the beginning that Aaron needed her as a vessel to bring about this witch. Anyway, things get really messy when the birth is imminent.

Taken all together, it was an OK story. There’s a constant stream of action, so you’re never bored. However, there are a few points that are confusing, as already discussed. All the characters are one dimensional, but this is a short story, so that is mostly OK. The ladies are all sex objects (except the now-dead witch who never has a single line). There’s plenty of blood to satisfy the gory horror junkie, if that’s your thing. I did like that everyone in the tale lives up to the title of the book – they all fail in some way. In fact, only one gets out alive.


I won a copy of this audiobook from Audio Book Reviewer.

Narration: Joe Hempel did a pretty good job with this book. His characters voices were each distinct and his female voices were believable. I especially liked his voice for Aaron, which had a kind of gravelly old man quality to it.