How do you survive hearing your family being brutally murdered over the phone? For Father Raul Figeuroa, all faith and hope are lost. Turning away from the priesthood behind, he retreats to his aunt’s empty farmhouse in upstate New York, hoping to drink himself to oblivion. But he’s not alone in the house. Something is trying to reach out to him. Or is he losing his grip on reality? When his childhood friend Felix comes to visit, things take a darker turn. The deeper they dig into the mystery, the closer they get to hell literally breaking loose.
Hi and welcome to my review of Faithless!
First of all, massive thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite and to Flame Tree Press for the beautiful review copy!
Faithless hits the ground running with a first chapter that is positively shocking. Father Raul Figeuroa is driving home when caught off guard by a rainstorm. Nervous about driving in such poor conditions and eager to get home, he calls his wife. As they’re talking on the phone, Raul hears someone crashing into his home, assaulting his family. He races to get home but he’s much too late, his family has been slaughtered.
After those horrifying first chapters, Faithless loses some of its speed and starts to burn more slowly. In the aftermath of losing his family, Raul also loses his faith. How can he take care of his flock when he couldn’t save his own family, when he can’t even take care of himself. He abandons the cloth, his parish, his life, and goes to live in the remote house he’s inherited from his aunt. Before long, he becomes convinced that his family is not really gone. That they’re there with him, calling to him.
Meanwhile, the police are getting nowhere in their investigation into who killed the Figeuroa family, and why, and Raul’s childhood friend Felix, just back from a stint in prison, decides to do a little investigating of his own. Felix is no stranger to violence and darkness, and he’s convinced that there must be a reason why the killings happened, and that he’s the person to find out.
The slow-burning drama of Raul’s loss broke my heart. The love for his wife, for his kids is palpable and it’s fairly unusual for a horror novel to make me feel such empathy for its characters, but Faithless sure did and it made the consequent events even more harrowing.
There is so much I would love to tell you about this story, in particular about the nail-bitingly tense finale, but everything I do say might ruin your reading experience cos for me, the slow unravelling of what lies beneath, gradually starting to see the bigger picture, feeling that shock and betrayal, is what was absolutely brilliant about this novel. Let’s just say I did NOT end up where I expected to end up, not in the slightest. I went from one WTF moment to the next until the very last chapter.
If you’re looking for a horror novel that has it all (not specifying cos spoilers), do get your hands on a copy of Faithless!