Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Steven Rage
Note: This book contains graphic violence, illicit drug use, non-consensual extreme sex, and potentially offensive material given the religious references.
In the drug lord controlled area know as “The Harbor”, biblical figures have been reincarnated. Immanuel, also known as El Cristo (Christ) is a young woman who has come to save those enslaved by an extremely addictive drug. She changes the lives of those she encounters – such as Pedro (Peter). However, her success negatively impacts drug trafficking.
Pilate, one of the drug lords, is an immortal vampire working for Herod the mayor of “The Harbor”. Due to Immanuel’s success, Pilate misses one of his quotas resulting in Herod brutally torturing Juan de Batista (John the Baptist) and Mary Magdalene. Pilate is infuriated by this betrayal.
The story follows the resulting power struggle between Pilate and Herod as well as Pilate’s frequent visions of his past vampire lives. Through these visions, released by Immanuel, he comes to understand who he really is and the ultimate choice he must make in this life.
Steven Rage’s “Pilate” is Bizzaro fiction, a genre I admittedly have no experience with. I found the references to illicit drug use and associated language difficult to follow given my unfamiliarity with the subject matter. I also had difficulty the first few chapters given Rage’s unique writing style and cadence. However, my inner ear eventually tuned into this style and rather than being distracted, it resulted in my complete immersion into the bizarre world Rage created.
I did find it odd at times that while the characters in the novel were well aware of historical biblical figures, other than El Cristo, no one seemed to realize they were the reincarnations of these figures. It was also occasionally confusing which “sides” the characters were on though I believe Rage was demonstrating the internal struggle they battled between good and evil.
Rage has created an incredibly creative and detailed, though disturbing world. Fans of this genre will find Rage’s “Pilate” a unique, creative, fast paced, brutal, dark, and bizarre novel.