I wasn’t sure what to expect when given the chance to read Nicole Cushing’s latest work, The Sadist Bible. All I’d really gleaned from 01Publishings description was that it was sure to trigger. “How well do you know the people you chat with on a social network?” I didn’t want to know anymore than that before diving into this book.
The Sadist Bible follows the story of Ellie Blake, a married middle-aged woman stuck in the Bible Belt of Ohio, and her secret internet friend/lover Lori Morris. What starts as a suicide pact quickly turns into a brand new, and dark, interpretation of the Bible. What I expected was something along the lines of Unfriended with an added Satanism spin, but what I got was much better.
The Sadist Bible is extremely mature in content, beyond the scope of your monster or slasher horror themes, so even among the average horror connoisseur there is a chance you can’t handle it. My hope is that after reading this, your first thought is “Challenge Accepted”, as was mine. The plot starts you off slow, and hints at some mystery, but escalates quickly. So quickly, in fact, that character development goes out the window. For a short work, however, sacrifices must be made and I understand. It did not detract for me but makes me wish for a full novel version.
Despite the graphic detail and intense imagery Cushing works with, I’d actually consider The Sadist Bible to be more of a psychological thriller. It makes you think, and question your own views of the world. The use of pacing and dialogue definitely give you the feel of realism and maturity. There were some terms used a few times that seemed out of place, somewhat childish for the ages of the characters. While those instances caused tiny hiccups in the flow of the story for me, they did not detract from my enjoyment.
With the addition of some more characters, this piece would make an amazing novel. In fact, this work almost reads like a foreshadowing to an even darker tale. No matter what, Cushing has proven time and again that she knows how to stir the human psyche, and create such slight variations to reality that they almost seem plausible. And that is how you truly spook someone…you make them spook themselves.