Shadowlands by Alan S. Kessler (Leviathan, 2013, 253pp.)
Love-starved, sociopathic Steve Goldblatt has had a terrible childhood. His mother viciously berates him, while his father beats him mercilessly for any minor transgression. Shortly after meeting bad-boy Dane, the newest addition to the neighborhood, Steve forms a fanatical devotion to this new “friend.” Shadowlands traces Steve’s life from elementary school to law school, drawing a disturbing, yet very human portrait of a lost soul. Although the pacing flags in the last third of the novel, the story as a whole is very readable, albeit with some VERY cringe-worthy moments. Recommended for fans of Kessler’s earlier novel, A Satan Carol, and other non-conventional works of horror.