Where The Devil Waits

Where The Devil Waits by Wesley Southard & Mark Steensland

What would you do for all the money in the world? Or to get with the girl of your dreams? What if you could make other people do anything you told them? What if all this and more could be yours just for winning a race…against the devil? A long-abandoned church on top of a mountain in the Pennsylvania backwoods is where the devil waits for anyone brave enough to challenge him. The course runs from the gate, through the cemetery, to the church doors. If you win, the prize is yours. If you lose…you die at sunrise. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? To four college students looking for a good time, nothing could be further from the truth.

The IndieMuse Review

Final Destination meets Crossroads

Wesley Southard follows up his epic creature feature Cruel Summer by teaming with Mark Steensland, himself fresh from two stellar collaborations with horror legend James Newman (The Special and In the Scrape) with an action-packed tale of a group of friends and their deal with the devil.

Frank is out with his buddies, enjoying a drink and shooting the breeze, when Stan suggests they take a trip out to a local church where local legends say you can race the devil himself and, if you win, your wildest dreams will come true. Lose, and you’ll be dead by sunrise.

Reluctant at first, Frank is convinced to give it a try. After all, it’s just a legend, right? When two boys race, one wins and one loses and the group find themselves in a desperate battle for their souls before all hell breaks loose.

Wesley Southard and Mark Steensland seem like a perfect writing team. Southard’s knack for writing a page-turner with a bizarre twist works so well alongside Steensland’s talent for a slow burn that gets under your skin, and both are on display here with Where the Devil Waits. The premise is a lot of fun and the book wastes no time in getting straight into the action as our group of teens are drinking by chapter one and racing the devil round a graveyard by chapter two. It may conjure an amusing mental image, but these early scenes are eerie and effectively done, avoiding campy and sticking to scary.

Once things are set in motion, the book is relentless. There is so much action packed into these mere 121 pages and there are too many stand-out set pieces to mention them all. An early scene set in a hospital sets the tone in terms of the spectacularly over the top violence, ensuring horror fans here for the blood and guts won’t be disappointed, but there are bigger and bolder things to come. There isn’t a second spare to grow bored while reading this book, and it’s an absolute joy to read in a single sitting.

As fun as it is, a few things do take a backseat somewhat in service to the frantic pace. The characters get little time to develop and, while that wasn’t a major issue for me for the most part, the motivations and actions of a few of the major players would have been better served if a little more time had been spent with them. I would have loved to have read more from Stan in particular, who feels like a more complex character than he comes across. It’s a minor quibble and the book is such a blast that I doubt many will have their enjoyment lessened regardless.

A gloriously gory good time, Where The Devil Waits is a great summer read with plenty for horror fans to get their teeth into and I honestly can’t imagine anyone not having a great time reading it.

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.

Curation Results: Where The Devil Waits

gHoster
B-Baal
Emo-Lee
KnotBTK
Deathdealer
Curator Notes: "Don't forget to breathe while reading this one…the plot races much like the devil does with each turn of the page." —gHoster

This title has been officially certified by indiemuse reviewers and curators as a recommended read. Read about our certification process here.

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