Ancient myths and legends often provide the best material for dark tales. They echo with resonance and history. In his latest, Edward Lee harnesses this resonance with powerful and horrifying results. Under his dreadful ministrations, the golem comes alive and walks the earth. Unlike its legendary predecessor, however, Lee's golem is a dreadful engine of destruction, leaving piles of mutilated bodies and torn lives in its wake.
Seth Kohn and Judy Parker have traveled through hell and come out the other side. Seth has not only recovered from alcoholism but also put to rest the tragedy that caused it: his wife's death. Judy has also defeated her demons; a crack addiction that destroyed her teaching career and reduced her to whoring to support it. Rehabilitated, recovered, and together, the future seems bright. Seth's newest video game dominates the market, and they've just purchased and renovated an old home on the quiet Maryland coast.
Their peace is doomed. Corrupt police and redneck drug dealers run rampant, along with something worse. Informants and rival drug dealers are being killed in horrifying ways, and a dark, ancient evil creeps through the night. Both Seth and Judy will be confronted by their worst nightmares, as the Golem – once a holy instrument of justice – is perverted into a force of evil and malice. Old fears will be resurrected, and Judy in particular will once again become what she's always despised – a “dirty crack whore” - all at the whims of an ancient evil.
“The Golem” evokes all the right emotions: hope, fear, despair, and vengeance. Particularly skillful was Lee's layering of the story, interweaving past and present narratives. For most of the novel, the horror plays out in the past, while dreadful anticipation of it builds in the present. And, as all successful horror novelists do, Lee combines supernatural horror with real, tangible horrors: being haunted by the specter of a dead love and returning to a despised addiction. There's resolution at the end, but also a somber reminder: evil endures, and marches on through history.