Book Review – Black Easter by Dario Ciriello

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows Paul, a San Franciscan antiques dealer who, although financially successful, has found himself emotionally dissatisfied, and has decided to change his life and move to a small Greek island.

Ready to start again, Paul is guided around a very old stone house on the island of Vóunos by beautiful estate agent, Elleni, and sees no reason not to push ahead and sign the rental agreement.

The house has been empty, although tended to by a regular staff, for quite some time. But there’s a problem. One that Paul will only discover after he’s moved in. The house was the setting for demonic activity and human sacrifice during the Second World War. And the former owners, after seventy years in hell, are ready to come home…

The story is genuinely scary. Of course the subject matter is dark – including the aforementioned human sacrifice and devil worship, as well as torture in wartime, contracts with hell, and human possession. I found the writing profound and compelling; I was properly scared but I couldn’t stop reading.

This was the first time in a long time that I can remember thinking of a novel as art. It’s the highest compliment I can pay any book. There’s no doubting the impact of the subject matter – I really thought I might be changed after the reading of it. The writing style is lyrical, without being floral. The characters and the relationships between them are keenly-observed and well-expressed.

True, the imagery used on the front cover is frightening, but totally apt for the story within. You’ll want to be at your strongest emotionally and spiritually, but Black Easter has the feeling of a classic in the making.