“Review of In the Tarot by Joe Filippone with Rainstorm Press”
by Jay Wilburn
In the Tarot by Joe Filippone with Rainstorm Press is a work of horror, magic, and erotica. It has an easy flow and a comfortable telling through most of the prose. Joe loves horror and loves erotica. That evil joy shows in the unfolding of the story.
He knows how to establish setting and then to use the picture he has drawn with his words. Carnivals may be the unofficial capital of horror stories and side shows might be the headquarters.
With Filippone, we climb into the heads of each of his characters to see their secrets and desires.
They quickly sit at the fortune teller’s table to hear their futures. Be warned that you might want to stay for the whole telling if you ever find yourself in this situation. Then again, you might not want to know. Angie, her boyfriend Chase, and her best friend Jessie find themselves in Madam Theodora’s clutches where she will reveal all the details to punctuate their conflict.
Filippone falls into some heavy character description here. He gives the physical detail common to much erotica. It might be a bit much leading to a slight break in the story.
Chase is Angie’s first and they’ll be together forever. This seems like good news, right? We’ll see. Madam Theodora asks for a lock of Angie’s hair and secret powers Angie does not realize will come with agreement to this request.
The gypsy reveals Jessie’s secret plans as proof. Life will get ugly fast. Jessie discovers Madam Theodora has dark secrets of her own.
The novel is graphic and detailed sexually. There is a lot of detail about penises.
All dark deals require dark sacrifice as all the characters will discover. Jessie begins unraveling mentally with his hatred and desire. He will go to despicable depths and attempt horrible things to try to get what he wants before it is all over.
Fillippone amps up the darkness well as the chapters progress. He uses suspense well in the middle chapters as his characters journey toward dark places.
The author draws an interesting comparison between the deadly flaws of both hesitation and impatience.
The ending comes fast and furious. There are no pauses or downbeats as the end approaches. The punishments at the conclusion carry all the elements of tragedy and poetic justice.
Some of the emotional beats landed a little heavy on sentiment. Some of the imagery in one of the mental torture scenes of one of the characters struck me a bit odd and out of the flow of the story. The ending felt a bit rushed to me. I think the story might have benefited by a more protracted climax. The ending may have lacked a full redemption that readers might have expected after following the characters through the course of the story.
In the Tarot was a quick read and a hard hitting tale of darkness and erotica. Be ready to play deep with taboos and to be in the room for detailed, explicit sex.
Follow Jay at @AmongtheZombies