In Mavrodi’s (Apocalypse, 2013) first installment of a series, the devil’s own son causes multiple grotesque events.
Fishing alongside his trusty Great Dane, Fedor is having a pleasant time until he witnesses a troubling scene: “He recognized the elusive, infernal posture—the icy, frozen restraint and the stillness of the ghoul who had just risen out of the grave.” Fedor flees his campsite only to return the next day and find that his friendly dog has changed (“the stillness of the dog was unnatural”). Fast-forward to Viktor, a computer programmer going through a rough patch with his wife, Masha. After their apartment is visited by a “grim-looking old man,” Viktor is launched into a state of paranoia, amplified by a Great Dane Masha brings home. He dreams his wife has sex with the dog; afterward, Masha and Viktor engage in lovemaking that leaves Viktor feeling “as if it was not him who made love to his own wife but someone else.” Soon, the previously barren Masha announces she is pregnant. Other characters find themselves in similarly fantastic and unfortunate situations; for example, Igor sells his soul on television and deals with the consequences, and Andrey struggles to survive an unforgiving forest. The stories—interspersed with conversations between Lucifer and his son—contain their share of terror and brutality. Fans of Tales from the Crypt-like fare will find a similar world of the hapless and the morbid, such as a man who sees a note, signed by his wife, which approves the use of his body for necrophilia. The dialogue needs trimming (one character explains, “There’s 10 grand in every pack. Here, hundred euro bills in every pack, 100 euros, 100 bills in a pack, 100 times 100—10,000”), but an overall sense of desperation will rivet readers.
Protracted but deliciously creepy explorations of the macabre.