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3.41  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  70 reviews
When reporter Cora Mayburn is assigned to cover a story about a snake-handling cult in rural Appalachia, she is dismayed, for the world of cruel fundamentalist stricture, repression, glossolalia, and abuse is something she has long since put behind her in favor of a more tolerant urban existence. But she accepts the assignment, dredging up long-buried memories as she seeks ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published April 30th 2017 by Word Horde
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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  219 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed Kristi DeMeester's short stories immensely. With her first novel "Beneath" there is evidence of her authorial capability allocated throughout the story. The novel is highly sexually charged throughout it's telling, with the lines blurred between eroticism and the perversion.

The novel's main characters, a young female no nonsense reporter, a priest who wavers between impure thoughts and weakness, a mother and daughter who's highly religious upbringing and marred upbringing comprise
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Beneath deserves to be on your list of horror books to read sooner, rather than later. I enjoyed every minute of this ride. This is my first Kristi DeMeester but it will not be my last. I hope she writes more sick reads!
And this book is sick.
Dark and disturbing, the prose sort of washes over you like briny, brackish water and leaves you feeling unsettled and dirty at the end of the day.
The blurb on the back of the back of the book gives you a great, surface level capture of what this story is
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, review-copy
4.5 Stars Video Review:
Beneath is a strong debut horror novel filled with creepy creatures and nasty people. Clearly, Demeester has a dark and twisted imagination. The prose in this novel is absolutely fantastic, with tightly written descriptions and disturbing imagery. This novel is unapologetic in its attempts to make readers uncomfortable.

Given the synopsis, readers may expect the snake handling to play a large role in the story. Yet very little of the plot actual
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
And where are the angels to guard? Where's the God of men and children?
VNV Nation - Serial Killer

Do you ever feel like a book was written just for you? Like, there’s some unspoken connection between you and the author, and somehow, despite not knowing each other, you share a kinship…and because of that kinship, the book they wrote has some sort of special resonance with you, and you’re like “yeah, I’m right there with you”? Like they somehow heard the thoughts in your head and managed to convert
Tracy Robinson
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A snake handling religion located in a small church in an even smaller backwoods town. A reporter with a dark history surrounding the church of her childhood. A mother and daughter enveloped in a slinking, slithery darkness with ties to horrors that aren’t as removed from the everyday world as we’d like to think.

Beneath boasts a dark beauty and DeMeester’s talent lies in her descriptive writing and her world-building when it comes to this novel. The characters are well-developed, and some of th
Michael Hicks
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beneath is one heck of a book, for the most part. I'll state up front that the ending didn't quite work for me, and it felt as if DeMeester wasn't sure how to wrap up the events of her story in a satisfying way. This is a slow-burn horror book, but where there should have been a big finale, the story disappointingly fizzles out and slowly fades away. I would also advise that this very much a "me" issues, and might not be a "you" issue, so please don't let that deter you. Read it and judge for yo ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

My friend Sadie is a horror nut like me, and every once in a while she will message me and say "you need this". Not only does she love horror, but she loves pretty much all of the same things that I love, so if Sadie says I need something, I definitely need it. This is one that she told me I needed.

I bought it, and like a lot of the books I buy it got buried under piles of other books that arrived shortly after and I forgot about it. Not entirely, though. I knew I wanted to read DeMees
Michael Adams
Devastatingly bleak novel that ratchets up the tension and terror page by page and never relents. Snake cults, religious horror, the horrors of organized religion, the weakness of the flesh, the pleasure and the price of sin, and a haunting conclusion combine to form one unforgettable beast. Compulsively readable, with smooth, fluid prose, and filled with a cast of truly realistic and fully-realized characters. Highly recommended to weird and horror fans who thrive in dark places, both geographi ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beneath is an apocalyptic novel involving evangelicals and snake handling. Several characters were only children of single mothers who I found 'easy' to relate to. I'm not sure what else I could add.
This is a great first (published) novel - a first rate horror novel - and I look forward to seeing what Kristi DeMeester writes in the future.

In the meantime, I'm going to dig into her first story collection Everything That's Underneath: A Collection of Weird and Horror Tales
Orrin Grey
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unfortunately, I finished reading this literally the day before I went into emergency surgery, so there goes any notion of my penning an actually insightful review. That said, I wanted to at least note my reading of it down, and say a few things, probably more poorly than I would were I in less pain or on less medication. I'm a fan of Kristi DeMeester and of Word Horde, and this novel got sold to me on the strength of the "horror novel about snake handling" logline, as well as my hearing a bit o ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Review coming soon!**
Rachel Bridgeman
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
'Beneath' is my first book read as part of the anniversary celebration readathon on Instagram/Blog pages/wherever for the Ladies Of Horror Fiction (happy 1st birthday!) in conjunction with bokstagrammer/booktuber Alex aka Hey Little Thrifter! Go and say hello to them,they are superb at shining a light on horror fiction!

''You understand something about darkness, don’t you, preacher? How once that door opens, it can seep out. Infect everything it touches? How quickly it spreads, and you standing w
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Snake handling is an obscure practice of a Christian sect, based on some very literal interpretation of scripture.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will ge
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a pretty sleazy, but very entertaining, horror novel set in rural North Carolina concerning a disturbed snake-handling evangelical preacher, an equally disturbed sixteen year old girl who has a fixation on the preacher and a journalist doing a story on the preacher (who also has issues). Who doesn’t have issues in this unsettling novel? The first half was really great, setting the scene, loading up the atmosphere, building the characters, giving us the feel of the mountain etc. Whilst t ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kristi DeMesster book Beneath was in three words: dirty, unsettling, and so intense I couldn't put it down. It was definitely a 4 but couldn't give it a 5 bcz it made me feel like my mind needed a hot cleansing shower...….
Leo Robertson
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
DeMeester is a contemporary hella lauded author, and I see her name cropping up time and again on my Twitter feed, in my mag subscriptions and so on.

And my God I don't think I've seen such a pretty book cover maybe ever. I LOVE it. (How do you even go about making something like that? Is it painted? Photoshopped? Reminds me of those Pre-Raphaelite paintings like "Lady of Shalott" except without all those OUTRAGEOUS colours :D!)

No-brainer, had to pick this up.

This story is executed with quite a c
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
I had to have this novel based on DeMeester’s dark story collection, Everything That's Underneath, that is by turns disturbing and beautiful.

I wasn’t as impressed with Beneath as I wanted to be, but it is still a worthy horror debut that shows strong talent, a great imagination, and that the women of horror are here to make a name for themselves.

What I liked most about the novel was how many different types of horror it manages to weave into the narrative. There is the very real horror of sexua
Kevin Lucia
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review soon on
David Bridges
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beneath has all the elements I love in a good southern gothic horror story, it has the South obviously, religious fundamentalism, including a pedophilic priest, and language that encompasses dread. I have to admit that this book takes a turn for the bizarre and grotesque that I wasn’t exactly expecting. I am not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it was not “The Great Worm”.

Initially, the story reminds me of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (which is my favorite Flynn by the way) when Cora, a r
Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)
This book was just not for me, which is disappointing because I've heard so many good things about it! First let me say that I enjoyed the prose and I really liked the monster/demon worms in the book; They were gross and scary. 

Here are the things that didnt work for me: I didn't connect with the characters. I was expecting a snake cult book with glossolalia. The setup for the story was a snake cult, but then it evolved into something much greater and unexpected. The book had nothing much to do
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off great. The premise of a small Appalachian town with a snake-handling church and a big-city reporter coming to town to write about said church caught my attention immediately. Then, it fell off the edge. It became a rambling series of crazy scenes, with two main characters that were impossible to identify with on any level. The story wasn't fleshed out. The characters were flat. It was a relatively short novel, but seemed to drag on with no real ending. I'm still not entirel ...more
Brian O'Connell
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird, horror
An excellent horror novel which blends religion, sex, and giant worm snake gods into an indelibly frightening mix. I just can't get enough of Kristi DeMeester's work--she's incredible. While I can see why some people took issue with the ending, I found this book to be a skin-crawling frightfest all the way through. And the believable characters, coupled with the beautiful prose, make the whole thing work perfectly.

Highly recommended.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unique and absolutely terrifying. A thrilling read. Full review to come.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love a good cult story and DeMeester, who has already made an impression on the horror community with her short fiction, delivers a twisted and compelling debut novel. Cora Mayburn, a journalist, visits a late-80s Appalachian community to write an article on a snake-handling church. What she finds is a town in thrall to something even more monstrous; an ancient and powerful god has corrupted a teenage girl, already vulnerable in her newfound sexuality that is at odds with her conse ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't read much horror outside of Stephen King, but this book makes me want to get on board. The writing was hypnotic. I truly felt like I was coming out of a trance when I had to set the book down. I loved the way the realism took me further into the darkness of the weird.
M. Dixon
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent Horror novel. This kind of reminded me of something from the old Dell Abyss Horror line. This book delivers its Horror up dark and delicious. I look forward to reading more from Kristi DeMeester.

Christopher  Nelson
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Fresh New Voice; A Terrifying Vision

This book scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t get away from it.

BENEATH is a true horror story. There is no psychological twist, no buried lesson in modern allegory, and certainly no sprinkles or silver lining. If you came here to feel, to be part of Poe’s American Romantic Movement and it’s defining nature steeped in tragedy, strap in. Kristsi DeMeester delivers horror with realism and the terrifying threads that connect us at our shared, basal fears.
Paige Hackler
What did I just read? And why did I pay for it?
I was looking for recommendations on books to read if you’re a Stephen King fan, and this was one of them. The story wasn’t good; it was all over the place! Probably won’t read anything else by this author.
Shaun  (Eclectic Cove)
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
See my full video review at ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are some truly horrifying places where Kristi DeMeester can take you.

She’ll begin by leading you into the lush green of an Appalachian mountain town where the locals worship caught up in the spirit, speaking in tongues, and passing snakes between them.

Mind, y’all - that’s in the daylight, just idyllic sun-washed churchgoing and the snakes won’t bite if sin’s not in your soul, but something terrible, ancient and evil, is stirring in the earth below.


C’mon, she says, her words flowing l
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Hudson Valley Hor...: June 2020 Horror Book Club Meeting 1 3 May 02, 2020 10:41AM  

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Kristi DeMeester is the author of Beneath, published by Word Horde, and Everything That's Underneath by Apex Books. Her short fiction has been included in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror Volumes 9 and 11, Year's Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1, 3, and 5, and Stephen Jone's Best New Horror. Her short fiction has also appeared in publications such as Black Static, The Dark, Pseudopod, as well as seve ...more

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