The Muse: A novel of unrelenting terror – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Arjay Lewis

In Arjay Lewis’ The Muse, Jack Court is a famed, best-selling horror writer—but also a grisly serial killer. His inspiration for both come from a mysterious, parasitic creature, but after a sudden car accident, the creature detaches itself from Jack, in search of a new host. Without his murderous companion, Jack is lost, willing to do anything it takes to get his muse back.

Although certainly creative and suspenseful, there’s a bit too much going on in The Muse. Far too many characters get to narrate their own chapters, making their collective points of view seem convoluted and sometimes confusing. Focusing instead on only the three main characters—Jack Court, the history writer Harry Godwine, and Sheriff Neil Trajan—would have been a simpler and more straightforward approach. Also, there are some chapters and scenes that are a bit too slow and drawn out, interrupting the otherwise fast-paced and exciting plot.

Aside from that, The Muse is a fantastic horror novel, full of exhilarating suspense and creative descriptive language. Arjay Lewis is clearly inspired by well-known names in the horror genre like Stephen King, but is still an entirely unique and fresh writer with plenty of originality. The Muse jumps right into the horror and suspense from the very first page, then keeps the reader hooked and frantically turning pages until the very end. The novel’s conclusion is surprising and wickedly satisfying, a memorable ending to an overall great horror story. The Muse is sure to please fans of the classic horror genre with its exciting and delightfully creepy story—but maybe it’s a novel best not read in the dark.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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