[Review] – Grief Is A False God

By Gemma Amor

* Minor spoilers ahead

If you don’t know it by now, I have become a bit of a connoisseur of the writing of Gemma Amor. Since discovering her about nine months ago via Cruel Works of Nature (one of my favorite reads of 2019), I have devoured everything she has out there since (in printed form – I am still trying to find time to listen to her via the popular The No Sleep Podcast). Every chance I get, I recommend her and her books to friends and strangers. But I digress.

Grief is a False God is her new illustrated novelette, featuring the drawings of Anibal Santos. It’s the kind of story you read in one sitting, and not just because of its length – this story executes sharply without hesitancy, making for a quick and emotional scare. If you read Till the Score is Paid, then you probably remember “The Strangler.” Dealing in postpartum depression, that story and Grief…have something to share: the unexplainable desire to evacuate following the birth of a child. This sort of sadness can become debilitating and fatale, as seen in this story.

There’s a conversation at one point in which the lead character (Elijah, the father/husband) is startled to learn his deceased wife had been mentally ill with such a depression, claiming she’d always seemed happy playing with their daughter. Here’s the thing about depression – people can be strong enough to hide it from others until, finally, it becomes so heavy that they take life into their own hands. Having had a happy-go-lucky friend blow his brains out a decade ago, I know how confusing it can seem to friends and family.

The point I am trying to make is Gemma has a way with emotional distress. She has written it well before and has done so again here. Seeing as the villain of Grief is some sort of magical, vampire-like being (feeding off the sadness of others), you’d have to have such experience in the depression-devil to do the theme justice on paper. Gemma bares her soul, in other words (and this isn’t the first time).

Grief is a False God is an excellent novelette well worth your time. And better yet, Gemma could easily return to this story with a sequel following the daughter. Let’s hope she does, because that farm and demon left an impression on me!

Review by Aiden Merchant
Twitter: @AidenMerchant89

I purchased this book myself for review.

Published by Dead Head Reviews

Dead Head Reviews is a platform that promotes authors, publishers, film makers, and just about anyone you can think of in the horror community. They mainly focus on the book industry, but if something is horror-related, they want to get their hands on it.

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