"An evil entity, slumbering for ages, is making a horrific return to civilization."
Reviewed by Tanzey Cutter
Posted May 12, 2015
Thriller Paranormal - Supernatural | Paranormal Thriller | Science Fiction Suspense/Thriller
After losing their jobs and dealing with a miscarriage,
John and Erma Scott are moving to a new location with a new
job for John when they end up in Cavus, Montana, after
their car breaks down. With some of their tension eased by
the quaint town's locale and its kind residents, John and
Erma decide to stay an extra day to enjoy Cavus' annual
However, things are not as tranquil as they seem. Beneath
the surface is an evil entity that has been in limbo for
eons just waiting for someone to release it. And that's
just what's happened following construction of a new
factory in Cavus. The infectious evil's slow spread is
gaining momentum with its culmination of dominance set for
the Cavus festival. John and Erma soon find themselves,
along with the sheriff and a few other ragtag innocents,
waging a life-or-death fight to keep this horrific "thing"
from taking over the human race -- worldwide.
Heather Herrman has penned a spectacular debut with
CONSUMPTION, heart-hammering horror at its best. Skillfully
executed plot twists ratchet up the tension factor as
ingenious and truly disgusting imagery of the evil's
embodiment makes this frightful novel impossible to put
down. New horror novelist Heather Herrman succeeds
big-time with CONSUMPTION.
For fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Sarah Langan
comes a thrilling new vision of American horror. In
Herrmanâ€™s heart-pounding debut novel, evil is ready to
feedâ€”and itâ€™s got one hell of an appetite.
In the wake of tragedy, John and Erma Scott are heading
west in search of a new life. So when car trouble strands
them in sleepy Cavus, Montana, they decide to stay for a
while, charmed by the friendly residents and the
surrounding ambiance. Here, they hope, is the healing
that their marriage needs.
Then John and Erma find themselves in a fight not just to
save their marriage, but their very lives. For this is no
ordinary town. Its quiet streets conceal a dark and
secret that has slumbered for centuries. Now, that secret
is awakeâ€¦and itâ€™s hungry.
Like a slow infection, evil is spreading through Cavus.
Soon John and Ermaâ€”along with the local sheriff, an
undocumented immigrant, a traumatized teenage girl, and
old man with terrible secrets of his ownâ€”must join
to battle an all-consuming force that has set its sights
its prey: the entire human race.
ExcerptFather James Timothy Johnson was in a wonderful mood. Not
even the family sitting just outside his office could
dampen it. The reason for his good mood had to do with
the man on the other end of his phone line. A Mr. Grady
Anderson from SweetHeart Industries, who was just about
ready to make Father James the deal of a lifetime.
â€śSo itâ€™s something youâ€™d be interested in, then, Father?â€ť
â€śYes, yes,â€ť said Father James, nodding his head as if the
man were actually in the room with him. â€śI think the
Black Squirrel Festival would be a perfect unveiling for
the partnership. The community likes to be proud of one
of its own, Mr. Anderson, and now that youâ€™ve settled,
that means you. You are one of Cavusâ€™s own.â€ť
â€śThank you, Father.â€ť The man on the other end sounded
humbled, and Father James smiled. He liked this man,
Father James decided. He liked him a lot.
â€śAs to the matter of cost, Father James . . .â€ť
â€śWell, we are, as Iâ€™m sure you know, a rather poor
parish.â€ť Perhaps heâ€™d made his character evaluation too
â€śOf course, of course,â€ť Grady cut in. â€śWhich is precisely
why I would not think of charging you a thing. You must
consider the order a gift, Father.â€ť There was a pause
during which the sound of squeaking, like rubber against
rubber came through the line. â€śPlease, Father,â€ť Grady
There was that â€śFatherâ€ť again. It rolled so nicely off of
Grady Andersonâ€™s tongue. So naturally. Father James
hadnâ€™t even had to instruct him in the proper title,
Gradyâ€™d known it right off. Not like the people around
here. Heâ€™d drilled the community of Cavus plenty good in
what it meant to have respect, and what a priest (yes,
priest, not pastor, another common mistake) of the
Lutheran faith should be called. None of this â€śMr.
James,â€ť or â€śMr. Johnsonâ€ť that the newer, more lax
branches of the faith were allowing. Nor, worse yet,
â€śPastor J.â€ť Ungrateful. Disrespectful. Gauche. He
wouldnâ€™t have it.
â€śThank you, Mr. Anderson. Iâ€™ll send some of my parish
over to collect the order from you. When might it be
â€śNot before the Festival, Iâ€™m afraid, Father James. But
you neednâ€™t have any of your flock come to the factory .
â€śA good many of them work there,â€ť said Father James,
chuckling. â€śAnother reason to be thankful to you.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m thankful to have such dedicated workers. They are
like family to me.â€ť
â€śAnd you to Cavus. You are a . . . a most magnanimous
benefactor, Mr. Anderson.â€ť The words stuck in the
priestâ€™s throat, but he knew how and when to play his
â€śWhich is precisely why I shall deliver the wafers
myself,â€ť said Anderson. â€śI hope youâ€™ll let me partake of
them with you.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re coming to the Service?â€ť asked Father James. And
now he could hardly contain the glee in his voice.
â€śWhy, yes. I hear itâ€™s not to be missed.â€ť
â€śIt most assuredly isnâ€™t,â€ť said Father James. â€śEspecially
with your offering of the sacrament. It will be a new
beginning for our church.â€ť
â€śI couldnâ€™t agree more,â€ť said Grady. â€śGoodbye, Mr.
â€śItâ€™s Fâ€”â€ť But the line was already dead.
Well, he supposed he could excuse the lapse. It had only
been once after all. More importantly, Grady Anderson had
agreed to come to the Festival church service. A real
coup indeed! It all but assured his church a swift and
victorious win over the small Baptist congregation that
was trying to crawl up from beneath the belly of the
town, meeting in the basement of the Quick Pick. He,
along with the backing of Andersonâ€™s name, would crush
the faction quickly and mercilessly at the Festival.
The wafers would make sure of that.
Some people might think it was a silly idea, but Father
James was not â€śsome people.â€ť He was a businessman. It was
how he got to where he was today. And as a businessman he
knew that the Lutheran Church was losing numbers, and it
was losing them quickly. Something had to be done.
He didnâ€™t believe in â€śmodernizingâ€ť the Church. That,
along with people calling him â€śpastor,â€ť was unacceptable.
Fads came and went. But (and this was what one must ask
oneself), what didnâ€™t come and go? What stayed just as it
should, always and forever the same?
The answer was simple. Addictionâ€”and Jesus, of course,
but the two went hand in hand in his mind. Addiction. Yes
indeedy-do. People needed to become addicted to his
church. It was why he preached the way that he did. With
anger and rants of sin, like a beating he gave his
congregation every Sunday. But just as quickly, just as
easily, he would pull back. At the right time he would
pull back, and like the beaten lover, the Church would
lift its head and then . . . then he would let just the
smallest drop of praise fall. Just the smallest, so that
they would always be coming back for more, always begging
for more. Never satiated, theyâ€™d lift their lips, like
thirsty men in hell, toward the priest, and wait for his
sparing words of redemption to fall upon them. And now,
with those words, heâ€™d add a sweet. Just a small one.
To others it might not seem like much, but he knew. Oh,
yes, he knew. Just as Grady Anderson knew how smart it
was to add a touch of beet sugar to the dry-as-dust
communion wafers, to make them sweet, and delicious, and
. . . unforgettable. Yes. Unforgettable. Like a kiss
after a fight. A smoothed brow after a sickness.
Unforgettable and necessary. Addictive. A craving. A
Silly? No. How many of those fat-bodied boys sitting with
hair forced into submission in the front of his church,
fat toes squashed into Sunday shoes, how many of them
thought of the next hit of cheese-powdered chips, of
sugar-spun mango taffy, of the burger from the place with
clowns and toys? How many Spanx-garbed wives dreamed of
their Sunday pies, how many husbands of their game-day
beer and brats? Heâ€™d bet his collar that it was more than
It was a proven fact, addiction to food. Other companies
were taking advantage of it. Heâ€™d read somewhere just the
other day that scientists were adding chemicals to food
that shut the brainâ€™s â€śfullâ€ť receptors off, just so
consumers would eat more. Half of America was now
considered overweight. All of this was factual. It came
down to science, pure and simple. Science and good
And it was time for the Church to start making money off
of it. He was just the man to help them do it. He and
Grady Anderson. Grady could provide the supplies and
Father James the . . . desire. The connections.
From the waiting room outside his office, Father James
heard a coughâ€”a polite cough, the kind someone makes when
they are waiting to be noticed, are reminding another of
The family in the other room. Heâ€™d all but forgotten
them. The Mexican woman with her little girl and the
surly-looking teenager. â€śBeaners,â€ť thatâ€™s what his
playmates in school would have called them, what he would
have called them, too, if heâ€™d had anyone to gossip with.
Father James stepped from behind the door and folded his
arms together, pressing his palms into prayer posture to
assume the regal, yet beneficent walk with which he liked
to greet all new possible parishioners.
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