THE BODY WILL FOLLOW
By Rob E. Boley
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
*⚠ Warning: Review contains minor spoilers regarding general plotting of story*
Believe it or not, I have read very, very few stories about possession. As such, I don’t know what parts of The Body Will Follow were influenced by possession tropes (or common knowledge on the matter) and which are fresh and unique to Boley’s ideas. I just thought I should preface that for those of you who may know a ton about possession and find me odd for comments I may make in this review.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want to start this by saying I found this story very original and enticing. I normally don’t care for a lot of sexual content in my reading – of which there is a lot in this story, especially in the beginning – but I wasn’t put off by it really in The Body Will Follow. Though I couldn’t fathom taking in a homeless girl (wanted by the police) just because she introduced you to bondage, that aspect of the story didn’t make me uncomfortable or anything. The sex had its part and point to play and was important in many regards, so it mostly worked. I only found some of the details to be padding and unnecessary.
But I digress. Back to how I found myself easily invested and interested in what was happening. Again, knowing little about possession, I found it rather engrossing seeing how Carrie’s possession not only wrecked her life in so many ways, but put her in so many uncomfortable situations. Generally, when I think about possession, I have that image of a person bound to a bed or room where they scream curses and climb walls. Here, Carrie is sort of leading a life, but not under her control. She is fooling people into thinking she is “normal,” in other words – she’s not being looked at it like, “Demon! The demon has her!” You know what I mean? No, instead she acts like a self-destructive teen. She’s out there having parties and orgies, destroying stuff, acting unruly, and eating like a pig. That was the other aspect I found amusing – the way her Whispers (as she called them) used her for earthly pleasures, things they miss from being alive (especially sex and food). Not only did it make perfect sense, it provided the avenue for destroying Carrie’s personal life with ease, ruining relationships left and right, and getting her beyond fired from work.
So, the story opens up with her possession. You get the tail end of it, right before someone frees her of her ghosts (I’m going to keep light on the details to avoid spoilers). The rest of the story focuses on the aftermath of what her possession has done to her life. As previously noted, it’s practically gone. Ruined beyond repair. We then follow her recovery – through the help of one of her later lovers while under possession – and then get to the point where she is seeing ghosts. Boley’s take on this is also original to me, as the spirits that roam the world are affected by everything around them (despite their inability to act upon them on their own). For example, the rain cuts them apart. Doors swinging open can bash their faces. But can they open the door themselves? No. I liked this idea and wanted more inclusion of it.
Now, let’s move into some of the flaws. I never actually liked Carrie’s character, but I didn’t dislike her either. I guess, more or less, I was indifferent to her. I enjoyed her journey, though. As for Daniel – her aforementioned lover that takes her in and helps heal her – he was a nice guy with a kind heart. However, his actions really didn’t make sense. Again, why would you take in a homeless, wanted-by-police stranger that has done a lot of crazy things as of late and given you STD’s along the way? I couldn’t get my head around that. There’s being a nice guy and then there’s being an idiot. I just didn’t find that aspect very plausible. I also mentioned before that I loved the way the ghosts are portrayed in this story, but wanted more of it. That plotline is used pretty briefly, whereas it could have carried the rest of the story. Instead, the third act involves Carrie and Daniel trying to save another possessed college student. That was all well and good, but I can’t help but feel that it would have worked better as a cliffhanger ending (rather than being told as a third act). I would have preferred to see Carrie interact more with the ghosts and learn what other new abilities she may have now. Also, how did she expect to fix her life in that town considering all that happened? In reality, she would really just need to leave and adopt a new identity, I think. I mean, the police should have at least picked her up at some point during this story. Lastly, her “confrontation” with the person who set her up was very weak and anticlimactic. I didn’t even rightfully understand the “why” of it all.
Complaints aside, I was sucked into this story early on. It kept me hooked from beginning to end, and did enough to fuel my attention throughout. I never felt like I was hitting a low or petering out into boredom. The Body Will Follow is not only an amusing take on possession, but also a wonderful companion to what follows next. It definitely took me down new roads in my reading, and I expect to read more of Boley as a result.
Review by Aiden Merchant