Psychopomp and Circumstance
By Adrean Messmer
Genre: Horror, New Adult
Publisher: A Murder of Storytellers
About the Book:
It starts on Facebook—an update that Nell doesn’t remember making. It’s bad enough that she’s dying and none of her friends know. Now, she’s pretty sure she’s going crazy. She sees the Sewercide Man everywhere she goes.
The bright, safe little town of Bandon is descending into darkness, dragging the inhabitants along for the ride. Death follows madness for those bound to the Sewercide Man’s will.
But the Sewercide Man is more than just a ghost or a monster. He is death without justice. He is destruction without remorse. He doesn’t have a plan.
He just wants to bring everyone home.
"A blend of gritty realism and dark supernatural, Psychopomp and Circumstance is Heathers meets It Follows, with a sprinkling of The Twilight Zone, all told with black humor, nihilist teen angst, and a buried need to be loved and accepted."—Richard Thomas, author of Tribulations
What an interesting tale of horror, dark humor and idiosyncrasy all interwoven to make a weird story come to life. I love horror novels, although not all readers have the stomach for them! In fact, the scarier, weirder and crazier they are, the more I love 'em! Always have and always will. Not everyone has a knack for writing in this genre, but I have to say, Messmer definitely has the qualifying skills. Her detail is beyond descriptive, it's an experience--and one I'm sure her characters would have otherwise liked not to have gone through.
There's a weird man canvassing the neighborhood of where a group of friends live. They grew up with each other and have somehow managed to stay together through their young adult life. So, who is this man with the tanned skin, to some, and rotten flesh, to others, with the umbrella with exposed spikes without the material, using his skull cane to aid in helping him to walk? To Nell and Kelly he's better known as The Sewercide Man. Actually, he was referred to by the media as the Suicide Man, since his body had been found years prior abandoned and broken over the side of a cliff in which Nell and Kelly found his body with exposed umbrella spikes cutting through his body. Hmm, Nell had a speech problem and found it hard to say suicide, it came out sounding more like sewercide, which is how this ghostly fiend came to be known.
Nell is slowly dying of an incurable disease and she thinks her mind is playing awful tricks on her, but as she sees the Sewercide Man everywhere she goes, her friends are disappearing faster than her mind can process. Is this all a figment of her imagination or is someone out there shortening her friends' lives for no apparent reason, or, is there a reason?
What I loved about this story is that each chapter reads like a standalone. Almost as if the chapters were individual books and as you read each section, you learn something more about each of the characters and how they relate to the story. For me, the detail was spot on because whoever heard of a soft horror story? You want the story to be edgy and provide all the gore your mind can handle, and Messmer handles this with such ease and finesse, I was incredibly impressed.
Pscyhopomp and Circumstance is a very weird and dark read and this would be a great story to read during October. Would you believe I've read three great horror stories and none of them in the month of October. Damn, I wish these had come out then, but that's ok, because this book is out and on sale, and I think if you have an open mind and one ready to receive gore and detail, you'll love the hell out of this story. At least, I know I did. It was really different, and I love unique writers who offer you something different and not the same old thing. Messmer's voice is a breath of fresh air, or would that be the rotten stench of the Sewercide Man? Naah, most definitely fresh air! She's an awesome writer. (LOL!!)
Mello & June gives Pscyhopomp and Circumstance four stars. No worries, I feel Messmer's work will be around for a long time to come. She's not like other horror writers, and for that I applaud and say Bravo and well done! What a weird story that works! I love that. You may find Pscyhopomp and Circumstance anywhere books are sold.
A Sit Down Chat with Author, Adrean Messmer
1. How did you come to write Psychopomp and Circumstance?
I took a novel writing class because, historically, I’m really bad at novels. I’m pretty okay when it comes to short stories, but novels kind of escape me. Well, I ended up finishing it at twelve thousand words and was stressing about it. Then I realized I had a couple other stories with similar themes, so I decided to weave them together for the end of the world. Or at least a small town.
2. If you could live in the world of one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh, gosh. No. I write horror. At best, I write really dark fantasy. Nothing good happens to anyone. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
3. What challenges did you face writing Psychopomp and Circumstance?
I wrote a trans character in the middle of his transition and a black character. I’m neither in the middle of transitioning, nor black. So, I had to reach out to my friends and ask a lot of really awkward, probing questions. I wanted very much to avoid getting into lame tropes or being insulting with either of them.
4. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I really dig horror, obviously, but I also like transgressive, neo-noir, and fantasy.
5. What steps do you take to prepare for the writing process?
This question makes it seem like I’m a lot better at life than I am. There aren’t very many things I prepare for. I mean, I guess part of my process is role-playing games. I play a lot games like Dungeons and Dragons. That’s where I brainstorm characters and get a lot of inspiration.
6. What is the hardest part about being an author?
Writing. Like, just making words happen on the page. Making the time, finding the right word, getting that next sentence down. Just writing, man.
7. What is a typical day like for you?
I have two kids living at home—a toddler and a graduate student. So, a lot of my day is ferrying them around, making peanut butter sandwiches, and reading books. The little one loves books and the oldest works at the library. Neither of them seems capable of making their own sandwiches.
8. What other interests do you have besides writing?
Obviously reading, both books and comics. I used to be really into video games, but it’s harder to find time for that with the toddler. I love board games. Some of my friends and I are into a Pandemic Legacy game right now that’s pretty intense. And table-top role-playing games.
9. How long did it take you to write Psychopomp and Circumstance?
That’s harder to answer than it should be. Two years? Since some of it started as other short stories… I think I wrote the original draft of Left and Leaving, which is what became Chrissy’s storyline in the book, three or four years ago. But Nell’s story, originally titled Thank God I’m Pretty, is really what I’d call the real beginning. So, yeah, I’m going with two years.
10. One question I get asked a lot by aspiring authors is ‘how do you know when your story is finished?’ So, how did you know when to end the story of Psychopomp and Circumstance?
I have no idea. I’m not honestly sure it is. The book’s been out barely two months now and I want to edit it more. I think it was as done as I could possibly make it at the time. And I knew because, at the time, I couldn’t really find anything to change. That is no longer the case, but I think a lot of writers feel that way.
11. Share with us one of your guilty pleasures?
Sketchy reality TV. I actually watched a lot of Toddlers and Tiaras and Hoarders while writing this book. For Nell and Chrissy respectively.
12. If we were a guest in your home, what type of atmosphere would we encounter?
Halloween. I decorated for a Halloween party the first year we lived in this house and, much to my husband’s chagrin, left most of it up.
Adrean Messmer is a horror writer living in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a tiny human she put together from some spare parts and a technowizard husband. She has a cat named after a Batman villain, and a dog who's really a magician.
When she was eight, she asked her mother to read Stephen King's It to her as a bedtime story and her mother actually did it. So, that probably explains a lot.
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Brought to You By:
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer
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