Book Review: The Time Eater by Aaron J. French

“Aaron J. French gives us a psychological war between man and the darkness behind the curtain of reality”

Aaron J. French has used his fiction to deal with the occult, the weird, and the metaphysical. His first novel, The Time Eater, takes these concepts to the extreme and gives the readers a tale that expands from the quiet story of a dying friend to the vast and complicated nightmare world of a cosmic horror entity conjured by college students who eats not only the lives of its victims but their past incarnations as well.

Roger Borough calls in on his old friend James Steiner, who is dying from terminal cancer. After sitting with James, seeing how far gone his friend is, Roger is invited to stay in the house by Annabelle, a childhood friend of James, so that James will have someone nearby in his last days. It becomes quickly evident, though, that there is more wrong with James than just cancer. Almost immediately, Roger’s past comes rushing back to him as he feels something dark and powerful lingering near his dying friend. He remembers a ritual performed back in Ohio State, when he and James were just a pair of mismatched college kids. And that’s when the Time Eater comes back into it.

The Time Eater plays with occult and esoteric teachings, but also the darkness hidden or repressed from the past. Bad relationships and tragedies manifest themselves, filtered through the rage and helplessness brought on by a terminal disease. Not only is James dying, though, but he is possessed by this cosmic creature, the Time Eater, and Roger determines that an exorcism might be in order–not with the traditional trappings of the Catholic Church, but with Eastern medicine and New Age meditations.

The story is relentless and fast paced, and French’s deeply flawed characters come alive off the page. French’s story is unpredictable, with metaphysical detours into the minds and dark hearts of its main characters as the Time Eater eats away, a little at a time, at each one of them.

In The Time Eater, Aaron J. French gives us a psychological war between man and the darkness behind the curtain of reality. He tells us that our belief in existence might be shattered at any moment and that our grip on sanity by only be held by the thinnest of threads, but that when reading horror we can face our demons, our tragedies, our past, and peel back the veil to see the dark things waiting to devour us all.

JAKE MARLEY

Publisher: JournalStone
Paperback: 180 pp
Release Date: 27 January 2017

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