Book review: Horror for a new generation


Michael Botur, author of The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror.

The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror
By Michael Botur
Published by The Sager Group LLC, 2022
Reviewed by Paul Brooks

Michael Botur is a writer: that’s what he does. His scope of him has no walls, just far horizons that keep extending as he tries new ways to use the alphabet, new kinds of communication with his diverse readership.

The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror is a book of 12 horror stories. Each story opens windows into ever-changing views and reinforces Michael’s status of him as a writer who knows how to push your buttons: he just seems to get you, his reader of him.

The 12 stories are as far from traditional horror as it is possible to be without losing the real scare factor. The author has taken normal, not-so-normal and pretty weird situations, settings and people, and taken them to places you would never-in-a-million-years expect them to go. They are scary in a variety of ways, but rest assured, each will leave a lasting impression on you. There will be times when, for no reason, a scene, a line, an image from this book will surface from your subconscious. While you probably enjoyed reading the book, these flashbacks will scare you all over again.

Michael has put his characters in a dozen situations firmly based on reality, with language and dialogue to match. His research from him into occupations, cultures, places, attitudes, gives reality to the bizarre. Everything is all very normal, until it’s not. First person, third person, male, female, Michael takes them on, putting them in places around New Zealand and the world, then leading them on a not-so-merry dance macabre down slippery rabbit holes lined with razor blades. The reality, the normality of homes, jobs, families and individuals is frightening because you, the reader, know things are about to turn, but you don’t know which way.

Don’t expect your traditional creepy tales: Michael’s use of modern concepts and topical themes puts his stories in a different class, and he knows about the pace of language. He has mastered the use of the accelerator, gears and brake in this engine of writing, and he takes corners at just the right line and speed.
The book is available online and features a cover by Siori Kitajima.

I have enjoyed Michael Botur’s writing since he introduced himself to me some four years ago with a volume of short stories titled Low Life. Since then he has proven his versatility and uncanny ability to get grab and hold the reader’s attention, to burrow under the reader’s skin. He has even written a children’s book about zoology, in rhyme.
The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror is another strong string to a well-strung bow.

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