The Horror Zine Review
by Lee Jordan
Paperback: 294 pages
by Lee F. Jordan
Review by Christopher Nadeau
Lee F. Jordan’s Coronation uses the tried and true “ancient evil” in conflict with gifted yet over-matched protagonist formula with mixed results. On its surface, the novel is a well-researched narrative built around several intriguing seafaring disappearances throughout recorded history, culminating with the horrible and mysterious deaths of a U.S. nuclear submarine crew in present day. The story contains shades of the film Event Horizon in its graphic depictions of crews driven insane by an unseen force.
Jordan’s protagonist is David Stickle, a man with a rare gift for sensing death that manifests itself in the form of intense nosebleeds. The U.S. Navy conveniently knows of this gift of his and recruits him to help them look into the submarine crew.
If it seems odd to you to match a guy who can sense death against a powerful, mind-manipulating evil creature, you’re not alone. Odder still, it never becomes entirely clear how this “gift” is any sort of advantage in the fight. What results instead are a lot of chapters featuring intriguing set-ups that don’t always go anywhere and a main character in search of a purpose.
Jordan doesn’t seem to trust his story or his characters very much either. The characters feel like they wandered in from central casting and were handed expository, repetitive dialogue in case the reader forgets vital plot points. When the characters aren’t speaking, the narrative takes over and does more of the same. In many cases, dialogue that could have been incorporated into narrative creates a jarring effect for the reader.
For example: “Those files Colonel Smith just gave to you are the property of the US Navy and must be returned intact. As you know, none of the pages can be photo copies or duplicated in any way and are numbered in sequential order. We’ll know if any of them are missing. You will be held accountable or your actions and the safe return of the file.”
The novel is filled with moments like that, making me wonder if they are demonstrating a lack of confidence on the part of the author in his story and his ability to tell it.
None of this is to say Jordan lacks talent. Far from it. Jordan’s descriptiveness is his real gift. His passages detailing the bloody, gruesome deaths of the various crews under the influence of the evil entity are often gripping.
Sadly, Coronation does not live up to Jordan’s obvious abilities.
Find the book HERE
About the author
Lee F. Jordan
Lee F. Jordan is the critically acclaimed author of Hell's Doctor. He has been writing horror for over twenty years and has work published in both national and regional magazines, as well as the anthology Slices of Flesh which debuted at this years World Horror Convention. He resides in Dallas, Texas along with his wife and three children. Contact him directly at www.leefjordan.com or twitter @Lee F Jordan.
About the reviewer
Christopher Nadeau is the author of the novel Dreamers at Infinity's Core available through COM Publishing's Sword & Science imprint and Amazon as well as the short story, "Rosa, Rosa Come out of Your Room" in the horror anthology, Saturday Evening Ghost. His latest book titled Not in the Brochure is available on Kindle.
He was recently interviewed on Suspense Radio as part of its up and coming authors program and has collaborated on a “machinima” film with UK animator Celestial Elf called The Gift, which can be viewed on YouTube. He has also written and published over a hundred print and online articles ranging in subject matter from local politics to pop culture and New Age cults, the latter providing inspiration for a novel currently in the works.
Christopher lives and works in Southeastern Michigan and is an active member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.