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Consumption, June 2015
by Heather Herrman

Hydra Publications
Featuring: John Scott; Erma Scott
ISBN: 1101884746
EAN: 9781101884744
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"An evil entity, slumbering for ages, is making a horrific return to civilization."

Fresh Fiction Review

Heather Herrman

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 festival.

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.

Learn more about Consumption


For fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Sarah Langan comes a thrilling new vision of American horror. In Heather Herrman’s heart-pounding debut novel, evil is ready to feed—and it’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 balm 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 bloody secret that has slumbered for centuries. Now, that secret is awake…and it’s hungry.

Like a slow infection, evil is spreading through Cavus. Soon John and Erma—along with the local sheriff, an undocumented immigrant, a traumatized teenage girl, and an old man with terrible secrets of his own—must join together to battle an all-consuming force that has set its sights on its prey: the entire human race.


Father 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.

“So it’s something you’d be interested in, then, Father?”

“Yes, yes,” said Father James, nodding his head as if the man were actually in the room with him. “I 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 you’ve settled, that means you. You are one of Cavus’s own.”

“Thank you, Father.” The man on the other end sounded humbled, and Father James smiled. He liked this man, Father James decided. He liked him a lot.

“As to the matter of cost, Father James . . .”

“Well, we are, as I’m sure you know, a rather poor parish.” Perhaps he’d made his character evaluation too soon.

“Of course, of course,” Grady cut in. “Which is precisely why I would not think of charging you a thing. You must consider the order a gift, Father.” There was a pause during which the sound of squeaking, like rubber against rubber came through the line. “Please, Father,” Grady finished.

There was that “Father” again. It rolled so nicely off of Grady Anderson’s tongue. So naturally. Father James hadn’t even had to instruct him in the proper title, Grady’d known it right off. Not like the people around here. He’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 “Mr. James,” or “Mr. Johnson” that the newer, more lax branches of the faith were allowing. Nor, worse yet, “Pastor J.” Ungrateful. Disrespectful. Gauche. He wouldn’t have it.

“Thank you, Mr. Anderson. I’ll send some of my parish over to collect the order from you. When might it be ready?”

“Not before the Festival, I’m afraid, Father James. But you needn’t have any of your flock come to the factory . . .”

“A good many of them work there,” said Father James, chuckling. “Another reason to be thankful to you.”

“I’m thankful to have such dedicated workers. They are like family to me.”

“And you to Cavus. You are a . . . a most magnanimous benefactor, Mr. Anderson.” The words stuck in the priest’s throat, but he knew how and when to play his flattery.

“Which is precisely why I shall deliver the wafers myself,” said Anderson. “I hope you’ll let me partake of them with you.”

“You’re coming to the Service?” asked Father James. And now he could hardly contain the glee in his voice.

“Why, yes. I hear it’s not to be missed.”

“It most assuredly isn’t,” said Father James. “Especially with your offering of the sacrament. It will be a new beginning for our church.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” said Grady. “Goodbye, Mr. Johnson.”

“It’s F—” 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 Anderson’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 “some people.” 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 didn’t believe in “modernizing” the Church. That, along with people calling him “pastor,” was unacceptable. Fads came and went. But (and this was what one must ask oneself), what didn’t come and go? What stayed just as it should, always and forever the same?

The answer was simple. Addiction—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, they’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, he’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 need.

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? He’d bet his collar that it was more than a few.

It was a proven fact, addiction to food. Other companies were taking advantage of it. He’d read somewhere just the other day that scientists were adding chemicals to food that shut the brain’s “full” 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 business.

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 cough—a polite cough, the kind someone makes when they are waiting to be noticed, are reminding another of their presence.

The family in the other room. He’d all but forgotten them. The Mexican woman with her little girl and the surly-looking teenager. “Beaners,” that’s what his playmates in school would have called them, what he would have called them, too, if he’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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