Night of the Furies

After nearly seeing death by sea creature in the waters of Mexico in DARK GOLD, one might think Jack Duran an excellent candidate for permanent homebody status. Yet David Angsten’s NIGHT OF THE FURIES finds the young man once more exploring foreign territory that’s not going to do him a damned bit of good.

As this follow-up opens, Jack is surveying the ruins of ancient Greece with his brother Dan and Dan’s girlfriend Phoebe. At Dan’s urging, they partake in a ritualistic, ecstatic experiment during which Phoebe utters a dire warning to them all: “The Furies are coming.”

By that, she refers to those mythological spirits of vengeance — “those who walk in darkness,” take the form of women, have “snakes in their hair and blood in their eyes,” and drive their victims to — and then over — the brink of insanity. Funny — Fodor’s failed to mention this.

Ah, well, Phoebe heads to Crete, leaving our adventurous siblings to meet up with Dan’s former college roommate/pot dealer, who takes them on a voyage on a ship with just the three of them … and 30 willing young ladies. Let the old-fashioned Dionysian orgy begin!

But, like HOSTEL, FURIES believes in the story template of “sex first, horror later.” Jack awakes from the night’s proceedings in a daze, only to find the boat empty, save for someone’s thumb and bloody handprint that curiously matches his own. Heading to shore, he makes a shocking discovery: someone’s disembodied head, and Dan taken by the cops for questioning.

What the hell happened? Who were these women? And just how mythical are myths? By calling on Phoebe for help, Jack aims to have all those questions answered before the trail leads to him as well — a situation uncomfortably likely, given the relative small size of the island.

The cover may be kind of bland, but Angsten’s adventure is anything but. He has a knack for marrying myth with mayhem, flirting with the supernatural and yet keeping it just grounded enough for it to remain plausible. In real life, I’d likely never hang out with the hash-smoking Duran brothers and their freewheelin’ lifestyle, but after taking two smartly written trips with them in fiction, we’re BFFs. On the page, I’d follow them anywhere Angsten dares to take them. Although FURIES is a small step below its predecessor, its ending holds magnificent resonance. Map this one out among your fall excursions. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

bonus xxx-cerpt“My hand could not encompass her breast as I lifted it to my mouth. It tasted of salt and powder. A waxy black curtain of hair draped me as I feasted. Her fat, engorged nipple endured the onslaught of my tongue. Euphrosyne was suddenly behind me. She reached her arms around me and started unzipping my pants. Her chest swelled against my back, her breathing warmed my neck. She reached into my jeans and took hold of me. … Her arms slid over my shoulders, and she hugged my face to her breasts. Euphrosyne’s arms were still wrapped around me, her hands still clamped on my cock. She treated it like her toy.”

DARK GOLD by David Angsten

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