Bethany Chiller by Steven Deighan

Steven is a friend and fellow Dreaming Big Publications author. You can buy a copy of Bethany Chiller here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a long tradition in literature and film of traumatized young women finding power and taking delicious, bloody revenge against those who wronged them—Carrie, Kill Bill, and the more recent Judy & Punch live and glory in this trope. Overlapping that genre is a pantheon of young women dabbling with, channeling, and hosting dark powers they do not totally understand and control—films like Jennifer’s Body and The Craft come to mind here, and, of course, Carrie again. To this twisted sisterhood, we have another initiate in the form of Steven Deighan’s Bethany Chiller.

            After a brutal rape leaves her vulnerable to dark forces, Bethany Childs is sought out by Amy, a demon in the shape of a woman, offering solace and seduction in the twin forms of power and revenge. Through Amy, Bethany becomes her bloodthirsty alter ego, Bethany Chiller, and together they hunt down the boys who hurt her.

In the hands of another storyteller, this is the point at which would devolve into a gory free-for-all, the audience and the protagonist gleefully enjoying the comeuppance Bethany’s attackers so richly deserve, but Deighan doesn’t go that route. Or, at least, doesn’t go that route completely.

Instead we watch Bethany struggle with her new, killer alter ego and the guardian demon she’s been saddled with. We see her try to protect her best friend, Michelle, and her widowed mom from this dark new reality she’s been thrust into. We see her try to come to terms with the cosmic struggle, a literal wager between heaven and hell, for her soul, as her father’s spirit tries to save Bethany from the path she’s unwittingly taken.

There are several twists and turns packed into this incredibly compressed timeline (Halloween night to Guy Fawkes Night, or less than a week), and a tantalizing tease in the final pages that sets up at the very least a sequel and possibly a full series following the further adventures of Bethany Childs/Chiller as she struggles with her angels and demons alike.

Probably not the book for everyone, there’s a graphic rape and too much blood for the “everyone should read this” stamp, but definitely one for anyone looking for a little something demonic on their shelves.