Title: Altar Boy
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Series: Joe Ledger Companion
In: Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Thriller, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 6th November 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gallery Books
5th sentence, 74th page: “She was brilliant.”
He’s a “recovering bad guy”, but when he gets involved with a woman, he might just have to question his priorities.
I love that this short story features a “recovering bad guy”. Unlike the other short stories in the Urban Enemies collection, this villain isn’t really trying to be a villain anymore. Rather, he is trying to atone for some of the horrifying acts that he has committed in the past. It’s a nice change from the more typical villain stories throughout the collection.
Altar Boy is kind of tragic – a man is atoning for his past and his sins, but he can’t be left in peace. He’s attempting to find a way in which to just exist is hopeful at the beginning. But, when he is once again forced to face up to his past, things take a more sinister turn. And it’s actually kind of heartbreaking in their eventuality. It doesn’t matter what he does, he has to find a way to justify his actions that are, after all, for the greater good.
One of the most powerful aspects of this story was the key question that it asks you: when has biological weaponry gone too far? It’s an incredibly relevant and scary question in today’s society and one that I kept on playing with like a loose tooth long after turning the final page.
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