The Bleeding Season by Greg F. Gifune
Usually I can read a book in one day, two days at the most, 3 if it's a big book, but there are those few books that I must pace myself out, because they are unrelentingly haunting from page 1, until the conclusion that you take your last breath to. I first got wind of Gifune from writer Christopher Rice. He had been interviewed on what was the best horror books out there, and he mentioned the book titled Children of Chaos.
I was curious and, so I bought the Children of Chaos book and I must say I was forever changed in pinpointing some of the greatest horror writers in existence. Gifune is possibly one of the most descriptive writers living today. His nightmarishly driven word play is a one of a kind experience.
He is a writer above and beyond so many others. It is a shame that he is not a household name like certain other horror writers or writers period.
Gifune scares the living s*** out of me.
He is so far beyond simple stories. He seems to write from the depths of Darkness. The Bleeding Season is that prime example of that Darkness. It's as if you're entering a Crypt, and Page after page your imagination becomes the torment of the story. The book slowly creates characters that you become in a sense, the victim, or the one creating the victim.
The passion, power and the brutal nature of the situations that descend throughout this story, is like staring into the eyes of Madness, into the reality of insanity, or as the story creates, considering the eyes of demons. What would happen if one day you found out the person you thought you knew, that you loved, that you cared for, that you grew up with, was not that person you thought you knew. A person that you considered a family member was not who he said, he was, and through that discovery, that you slowly investigate, slowly uncover, slowly sink into the depths of who that person really is ultimately changes everything.
Once you get there inside that Darkness, staring back at you, from the one you considered a friend, a family member you alter your whole understanding. Once you stare into that person's truth, and realize exactly who that person is, nothing you had ever imagined, nothing that your wildest Darkness of a nightmare could ever fathom stares back at you. So, begins the story of a group of kids, Alan, Donald, Rick, Bernard and Tommy, friends that grew up knowing each other. Caring about each other. One day the grown-up Alan gets a phone call, answers it to realize that one of his best friends, one of the group, the Clique, Bernard has killed himself. The clan comes together, Alan the security guard. Donald the closeted homosexual, and Rick the one with a violent temper, who has done jail time try and understand why a friend did this. Days later after the suicide, a letter shows up at Rick's.
Inside the envelope, it is a cassette tape. That cassette tape is Bernard’s suicide note, but what it does, is it opens a Pandora's Box that Alan, Donald, and Rick could never see coming.
The Bleeding Season is a brilliant character driven plot. Teenage years in flashbacks, and present-day adulthood come together in secrets and lies, but most of all hidden nightmares that aren't supposed to exist. There are moments in this book that an unimaginable structured poetry of Darkness comes to life. It's a poetry of evil. A descriptive reality of the situations, from hallucinations, to nightmare's and dreams, to a waking zombie like state. Alan is created flawlessly. He's an average person. A working man. A man that had dreams, and yet failed to accomplish what he wanted to do. Alan is the protagonist of the story, yet in a way the true protagonist is what is Haunting Alan. Alan in the sense has basically failed in life, in some sorts and now he is smack dab in a mystery. In a darkened horror that he now must solve. He now must conclude what his friend really was about.
The way Gifune writes. He gives oxygen to the characters. He creates scenarios, believable, yet so out there, that your mind slowly becomes a part of them. I have stated I had to pace this book out, because this book is scary, hair-raising, Goosebumps inducing, nightmarish brutality. This book haunts me. It really does scare the senses, and that is one reason why I had to pace the book out. Believe me it wasn't pleasant nightmares that this book gave me. For it creates an emotional roller coaster inside the reader.
The whole book comes to life in so many ways. It's hard to pin point each moment that stands out and smacks you in the face. There are so many moments of artistic word play. I love the way Gifune can take words and craft moments that seem so vivid and real to the point you start to question your own surroundings. I swear as I approached Chapter 19 I was already looking over my shoulder. Listening for sounds. Something I love doing is reading in the dark, by a book light, or Kindle, or Nook light, it adds more creepiness to the reality taking place in the book, specifically when your reading a horror novel, or a suspense book.
Now I have mentioned Chapter 19. The first 18 Chapters totally floored me. Chapter 19 scared the doo doo out of me, and the complete completion of the novel haunts me, and that is the ultimate brilliance of this book. Very few books can scare me. The Bleeding Season is one of them that did, and will continue to haunt me.
The book had everything. It contained everything I seek in a great book. It has everything I want in a novel. Gifune is a brutal writer. A visionary of decay, death, hell and most of all human evil. Greg F Gifune constructs, executes, and owns the world of writing. The Bleeding Season is a prime example of that reality.
Would I Return to: Gifune has not disappointed me yet, I will always praise and return often to his books; after I have read them. I will return to this one in the future and be haunted and disturbed all over again.
Would I Recommend: In a heartbeat. You like good writing. You like truly hair-raising reads then look no further. For this is a book that will take you to the edge and throw your dam ass right over it.
Length: 348 pages
Year Published: 2003
Four Final Words: Bloody Hell. Brutal. Nefarious