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New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfrien...

Review || The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper


New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace.

Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumors. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark.

Donna isn’t missing. She was taken.

To save the woman she loves, Monique must descend deeper than the known underground, into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures. But what she finds looms beyond her wildest fears—a darkness that stretches from the dawn of time and across the stars.



Review first featured in Unnerving Magazine  #14 - Get your copy here!


   

Simple yet unyielding prose creates a foreboding experience as Piper leads the reader on a merry monster chase through the tunnels of Manhattan and deeper underground in this short novel. Cultists in the darker subterranean aspect of the city streets are extolling the return coming of the Worm—who promises that the "wounds of this world" will be undone and those who wait for him will be remade. What truly awaits in the empty place is an indifferent expanse of space and time. 

Protagonist Monique couldn't be a better example of the prevalent Lovecraftian theme of the outsider; a character who by circumstances out of their control finds themselves standing on the outskirts of society.  Her marginalized identity and life experience make her a singular narrator for traversing this cosmic culture. The world has not been compassionate to Monique; For her, life has been gritty, arduous, and unkind. Her journey is heartbreaking and authentic as she continues uncovering and examining her path. Piper coaxes and molds it as it concludes in an emotional crescendo of an illogical and impossible landscape. Lyrical and lasting, this one leaves its mark.