THE BODY WILL FOLLOW by Rob E. Boley

When Carrie reclaims her body after being possessed by a hedonistic gang of dark spirits, life as she knew it is over. Before, she was a thirty-something data analyst who enjoyed preparing vegetarian meals, decorating her vintage home, and training for marathons. Now, she’s lost everything—her savings, friends, career, and reputation. The police want to question her for an array of crimes. Homeless and diseased, she’s also the star of her own mortifying viral video.

That’s not all that’s changed. She can now see ghosts, though not the traditional specters from books and films. These earthbound souls exist at the mercy of the physical world, where grass impales their feet and rain riddles their astral bodies like bullets. When she meets Daniel—who first encountered her body on a one night stand during the spirits’ debaucherous joy ride, they forge a friendship rooted in home-cooking and bondage. Just as Carrie finds a new normal, she discovers that sinister spirits have possessed another victim.

Will she risk everything she’s rebuilt to save a stranger?

The IndieMuse Review

The Body Will Follow opens with Carrie, a fairly normal thirty-something with a nice house, good friends and a boring job.

Oh yes, and Carrie is possessed.

She has lost all control of her body to malevolent spirits (who Carrie refer to as ‘the Wishes’), who use her for their own debauched purposes. When Carrie finally escapes their clutches, she finds her life in tatters. She’s lost her job, her friends, her house is a wreck, and she has police banging on her door to answer for crimes she has no recollection of.

She soon finds herself on the streets with nobody to turn to for help, except for Daniel, a one-night stand of the Wishes. Their friendship will take them on a journey with ghosts, zombies, bondage and rituals, while Carrie tries to rebuild the life that she once had.

When I review a new book, I usually like to leave a day between finishing the book and writing a review, so I have a chance to reflect on what I want to say. It has been a week since I read The Body Will Follow and I find I’m still conflicted by what I’ve read.

On the one hand, Rob E. Boley is a hell of a writer. His prose is strong, and you quickly get swept up in the story on the strength of the writing alone. There are also a lot of ideas here and there were some I really enjoyed and would like to see more of. I particularly liked the way ghosts were portrayed. Here, the ghosts can interact with the physical world around them, but it is inherently dangerous for them. A blade of grass can cut them, and a bout of rain is like a hail of bullets. They can still suffer and feel pain but can’t die (again). It’s an intriguing premise and one that I wished was explored further.

My main issue with the book is its tone. There are a lot of intense themes and some will likely put a lot of potential readers off, but there is also an undercurrent of humor and the two don’t always mesh well, either leaving the humor to fall flat, or to make light of the more serious subjects. I also didn’t find any of the characters especially likeable. Carrie in particular comes across as emotionally detached and indifferent. This may be a stylistic choice, given the theme of possession and loss of self, but, if so, it didn’t work for me. She never seems affected by the terrible things that happen to her and while there is a lot of time spent on the consequences of the things she experiences, we are told about them so matter of factly, it never really connects in the way it should.

There was a lot about this book I loved, and a lot I had issues with. If nothing else, it’s a very ambitious and unique book and, love it or hate it, I’m still thinking about it long after I read it, which feels like a recommendation in and of itself.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.