Review of Letters of Thanks From Hellby David Vardeman

I’ve finished all of Vardeman’s published works. 

 Now I have to resist the daily urge to search the web for new publications by this author.

LoTfH is a dramatic play taking place hundreds of years ago, with historically appropriate syntax and vocabulary. But somehow, Vardeman avoids confusion and localization, modernizing his prose just enough to bring the reader right into the room with the characters. The scenes are vivid and well-realized, with horripilating moments dispersed amid thoroughly researched phrases and lengthy, powerful speeches.

If you’ve seen the Exorcist or any of its pathetic imitators, you’ve seen this story before. Tales of possession are typically fascinating by default. What makes this one different is the reader’s duty to interpret these frighteningly lifelike events on the page, to unearth the human struggles amid the incantations and sermons. Each character struggles with interior and exterior demons. When one takes center stage, we must intuit the presence of the other.

The astute reader should be well-aware of the actual existence of witch trials in America during the 17th century, when our country could be properly called a barbarian nation of rabid, half-blind cultists. Whether those groups were benevolent or malevolent, they were steeped in traditions and superstitions which have thankfully died out (only after eliminating millions through disease, xenophobia, and zeal). But by reminding ourselves of our ancestor’s beliefs, conflicts, and passions, we can better define (and understand) our own. We must consider what this tale tells us about today. And that consideration will keep you thinking long after you complete the mental performance of this intrepid book.

This is an important parable of human nature in opposition to divine and demonic forces. It left me wondering: What is more supernatural than our own persistence?

I urge Vardeman to publish more, and quickly, because he will always find a faithful reader in me.

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