Bleeding the Vein
By T. G. Arsenault
October 2012, Paperback $14.99
Review by Kat Yares
It’s a rare horror book these days that I would award the maximum amount of stars to, but T. G. Arsenault’s Bleeding the Vein is one of them. Somewhere between a kickback to old atmospheric horror and more modern extremes – this story has it all.
The story starts with Eddie, a young Navy man and his first sexual encounter with the beautiful and seductive Jasmine while on shore leave in the Philippines. Intoxicated by her beauty and the sex she offers, young Eddie will do anything she asks. Until he realizes what an evil monster she is. Thinking he is ridding the world of her evil, he kills the lovely Jasmine, but continues his career in the Navy, only to be haunted day and night by the crimes against humanity he has committed in the name of passion.
Fast forward to the present and we find Eddie retired to the small Maine town fishing town that he fled years before. Here, he is now locally mocked as the town alcoholic. Living in an old shed behind the town bar, Eddie’s okay with that until he begins to see the signs that maybe the evil he thought he had destroyed has followed him to his new home.
The opening is a bit slow, what with showing how what happened in the past is still alive and well in the present day. But once you’re caught up, (and it only takes a maybe a chapter) you may not like Eddie at all, but you are invested enough in the events of the story to keep reading. And that’s a sign of a masterful storyteller.
From there, the horror builds quite rapidly and you won’t be disappointed. As you read and quickly turn the pages, you will discover all the prerequisites for modern horror; sex, guts, gore and gross and yet enough literary style turns of phrases and sentences that you realize this is a book that is a joy to read. And if that isn’t enough, Mr. Arsenault has given us a unique and believable monster, which is very difficult to do these days in the genre. Throw in a few kids (just in case you need someone to care about) and you’ve got the perfect blend of intelligent horror.
The ending is perfect – just the right amount of feel-good and bittersweet. And dread, because you have to wonder, did Eddie really defeat the monster or is it just patiently lying in wait for the next opportunity.
Personally, I look forward to seeing what Mr. Arsenault comes up with next. I will be reading it. And I’ll probably go and attempt to find his previous book, Forgotten Souls. Bleeding the Vein just whetted by appetite for his style of writing.