Aurelio Voltaire's Call of the Jersey Devil tells the story of a couple of mallrats who crash their car on their way to a non-existent goth festival; there they discover that the horrifying legends of the Jersey Devil are true and that the gates of Hell are in fact, located directly beneath New Jersey. The teenagers run into washed-up goth singer named Villy Bats and a strange woman who claims to be a witch; in the end they all need to work together if they want to survive.
If you immediately think of some B-horror film while reading the short summary, you wouldn't be entirely wrong. The horror vibe is definitely present throughout the novel, more clearly at one point than another, but it wouldn't be Voltaire if there weren't a sufficient amount of humour included. The macabre events often seem much more lighthearted because of the satirical descriptions and the cynicism of some of the characters. The mallrats are delightfully stereotypical and Villy Bats is so sarcastic that you can't help but chuckle at his thoughts. Beside Villy's supposedly intelligent cynicism, Call of the Jersey Devil does not lack in slapstick; some situations are simply laugh-out-loud funny. Finally, a couple of (pop culture) references make the reader chuckle in recognition, from Lovecraft and Alan Rickman to Star Wars.
However, the novel is not all fun and games; there are some rather sinister moments in the story, and some heart-breaking ones as well. Some aspects of the storyline remain unpredictable, even though you might think you've got it all figured out.
To top an already interesting story off, Voltaire's writing style sucks you into the story and makes it impossible not to sympathise with the characters. This combination of writing style, plot and atmosphere will make sure you won't be able to put the book down before you've read every last page.
Labels: books, review