Review – James Collins’ The Judas Inheritance
Christopher is a photographer who leads a fairly mundane existence, sharing custody of his son Ben after an acrimonious divorce from Sarah. Out of the blue he gets a letter from a Greek Island saying that his father, Frank, whom he has been out of touch with for many years, has died and he needs to go and sort out the belongings. After an argument with Sarah, who wants him to take Ben with him to ‘say goodbye’ to the grandfather Ben never met, Christopher sets off to the Mediterranean alone with just a drawing from Ben for company. When he gets to the island though he discovers his problems are only just beginning as he lands in the middle of a devastating time.
Christopher’s father, Frank, came to the island many years previously, looking for answers. A highly religious man, he had become obsessed with myths and legends, especially one called the Judas Curse. He had pieced together a story from Roman times, through the ages, of an artefact which was linked to Judas himself and caused evil to happen every time it was found. Following the stories through several destinations in search of this artefact, Frank finally landed on the island where the rest of the clues seemed to fall into place but, in the process of trying to break the curse, he had been caught up in it as he and many of the islanders had been driven by some unseen force to commit suicide. This was the nightmare scenario that Christopher walked into.
Finding his father’s house and all his notes and tapes, Christopher is begged by local girl Stavroula to help them get rid of the curse brought upon the place by his father’s investigations. Always a sceptic, Christopher didn’t believe in the curse until he witnesses its power at first hand when one of the islanders commits suicide in front of him and he is powerless to stop it. Helped by Stavroula and a German psychologist on the island, Helen, he starts his own investigations into the Judas Curse as he tries to work through his father’s manic notes and images and follows his descent into obsession with superstition and the supernatural.
My description above doesn’t do the story justice. From the very start I was gripped by the writing. There was enough accuracy in the facts to make the legend believable and I can fully understand the obsessiveness of chasing down clues to the mystery as well as the unknown urges experienced by those driven to take their own lives because of the curse. The plot was very well paced too with no let up in the action and the twists were really unexpected. The horror in the book, apart from a couple of very graphic scenes, was psychological which I enjoyed a lot more than the blood and guts but I have to say that the graphic scenes were really vividly described and essential to the plot.
I can really see this book making a superb supernatural horror film. However, if you are as superstitious as I am you will find this book really gets under your skin. It is almost too believable and I may never sleep soundly again.
***** 4 1/2 STARS!!!