C.L. Stegall's Reviews > In Bleed Country

In Bleed Country by Brian Fatah Steele
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's review
Nov 09, 2010

really liked it
Read in November, 2010

Having read other works by Mr. Steele, I held certain expectations of the novel "In Bleed Country". I was not let down in the slightest.

The book clearly consists of two separate novellas that have been meshed together to serve as the novel and for the most part it works splendidly.

The story surrounds a young man, Jeff, who finds himself drawn into a strange and dangerous world that serves as both the underlying fabric and parallel housing of the earth we know. Bleed Country is that part of existence where the mystical and the horrific coexist in a tightrope dance of sight and touch, horror and beauty, love and madness.

Jeff encounters a myriad of characters that bring Mr. Steele's "Bleed Country" to life in drastic and dichotomous manners. The Crimson Daughter and The White Man, who serve as members of the Armada Of Sensation, are presented as very nearly the personifications of madness and chaos. Other members of this mystical and lethal troupe serve other purposes, hold other terrors and tendencies near and dear. The Artisan is one of the best written characters I have ever read - the fact that he changes so dramatically over the course of the novel and still remains true to who he is stands as fair tribute to the literary talents of Brian Fatah Steele.

Although there were a few editorial misses and a strange see-saw of tense changes that I've yet to determine were planned or not, the novel is reminiscent of the works of H.P. Lovecraft and - more to the point - Clive Barker. Yet, to be perfectly honest, Steele's characterization and descriptive skills meet and even, at times, better those of Barker.

The horrors that inhabit the Bleed Country, the Scars and the Agents, all serve to lift this novel to levels of writing that are to be envied by many a horror writer currently in print. The imagery and the characters will haunt your dreams long after the last line (which I might add is a perfect end to a tale that twists the soul and drives the spirit).

I became so enchanted with the terrible landscape and believable characters that I can honestly state I cannot wait to take another trip into the Bleed Country.

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