Church by Renee Miller
Book Review by Emily Reed
“Damned before you have a chance to live. How right does that sound to you?”
Church is a novella that really packs a lot into a small amount of pages. This was my first time reading a book by Renee Miller, and I loved it. This book is incredibly bleak, and it’s sad to read about these people giving up everything for something meaningless. It’s an unfortunately familiar setting.
At a very different time in my life, I worked at and was way too involved in a church. This story brought back a lot of anxious feelings and anger. Maybe brought back isn’t correct – probably intensified – since those feelings don’t really go away. The story accomplished what it was supposed to – it showed the horror of a realistic situation. At its core, some parts are extreme, but the heart of Church is very familiar to me. It was stressful to read at times, but it makes for a fantastic horror story. Church made me want to scream at someone, and it was an effective story for me. I don’t know if that expresses my feelings well or not, but that’s the best way I can describe it.
I’m going to give warnings to potential readers for rape/lack of consent, torture, drugging, and suicide. There’s a lot going on in this story, so just know that it’s on the heavier side. This is not a happy book and it’s not a happy topic.
If you enjoy cult horror, Church is definitely one to pick up. This is a grim and haunting story, and I plan to reread it again later on. I’ll be thinking about this book for a while. Renee Miller did a great job at capturing a disturbing setting, and I can’t wait to read more from her.