Review: Burning

BurningBy Joan De La Haye

Fox Spirit, out now

Marcie Grove uses a powerful spell with devastating consequences…

South African writer Joan De La Haye is “deep, dark and seriously twisted”, according to her biography in the back of this short novella. That’s a fair description of Burning, which starts with a group who don’t seem necessarily to be taken their coven membership that seriously, and ends with a swathe of destruction – although maybe not of the kind that you’ll expect.

De La Haye keeps us firmly within Marcie’s point of view for the majority of the story, as she realises that she’s so far out of her depth that she has forgotten why she dived in originally. The burning of the title can as easily refer to her reactions to the incubus she invokes as it does the consequences of his/its actions, and the author keeps things at a fever pitch (in all sorts of ways) throughout.

Sometimes reading like the wicked stepchild of Charmed and the Species series (with more than a little Rosemary’s Baby thrown in), Burning has moments that will resonate long after you’ve finished – particularly the choice of reading matter that the incubus chooses for his daughter…

Verdict: A horror story that uses its eroticism to chilling effect. 8/10

Paul Simpson

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