I have never read anything by Kate Jonez before, but her upcoming novella, “Ceremony of Flies,” has been one of the most anticipated books of the year for me. The reason for this is simple: the cover. When I first saw the cover months ago, I knew that this was a must read for me and I finally got the chance.
Emily has been pushed to the brink. She hates her job in a Vegas casino and thinks that things cannot get any worse. When she accidentally kills her boss, she finds herself on the run and again thinks she has hit rock bottom. When she meets Rex and gets a ride out of Vegas, things are starting to look up for her in spite of the fact that Rex insists on calling her Kitty and that is really starting to get on her nerves. When they pull into Barstow, she once more learns that she has further to fall.
Rex quickly loses all of his playing pool and the police are called when Emily (now fully Kitty) tries to pay with a stolen credit card. Rex and Kitty quickly find themselves on the run from the law with a strange child named Harvey in tow. Both Kitty and Rex are running from a dark past into an even darker future. When their car breaks down and they are forced to stop at an ancient Catholic mission, they expect to find sanctuary only to find themselves struggling for their very humanity.
The cover of this novella has got to be the early front-runner for the cover of the year and the story does a good job of living up to the cover. “Ceremony of Flies” is a tale told at a sprint from the opening page and Jonez does not let up on the action until the final word is read. Even with the action coming at an almost frantic pace, Jonez is still able to provide a back story for both Kitty (Emily) and Rex so that they are complete characters rather than just pawns to be moved around to push the story along. This also makes their final actions resonate even deeper with the reader as it give a weight to their actions that would otherwise be missing. It can be difficult to develop a character in a novella that the reader can really relate to. In “Ceremony of Flies,” Jonez is able to craft two such characters.
“Ceremony of Flies” is a roller coaster of a horror story that will leave the reader breathless and reeling but also wanting more. It is not a perfect story as the explanation of why the events are occurring is not as well developed as the characters in the story but that is not much of a distraction as the reader, like Kitty and Rex, are left to react instead of taking the time to plan and think about what is happening. Quite simply, “Ceremony of Flies” is an adventure story with a heavy dose of horror in the mix that is just fun to read.
I would like to thank DarkFuse and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Ceremony of Flies” is scheduled to be released by DarkFuse in July.