Camp Damascus | Chuck Tingle

Well today I am looking at the new book by Chuck Tingle. 
Some of you may have heard of Chuck Tingle and his individual form of erotica that is very prominent on the old 'Zon.
However, this is a departure from their usual fare and is a horror novel based around a 'christian reeducation' programme

A searing and earnest horror debut about the demons the queer community faces in America, the price of keeping secrets, and finding the courage to burn it all down.

They’ll scare you straight to hell.

Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.

Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.

Yes, yes! We have all heard of Chuck Tingle (or Dr Chuck Tingle if you prefer) the self published sensation who has populated the Zon with his tales of being pumped in the butt by whatever. However, this is a different side of the eponymous writer of his own style of erotica, and in Camp Damascus, he has turned his hand to a different sort of tingle; the Spine Tingle.

Yep, in Camp Damascus, Chuck Tingle has changed from the good naturedness of his prolific output and instead the good doctor has turned his hand to horror. 

Now by my count, this is the second book of horror that Mr Tingle mi timbers has turned his hand to, but whilst the first one, Straight,is a queer take on the Zombie Apocalypse, Camp Damascus is going straight for the jugular and highlighting the evil of organised religion that preaches about the use of conversion camps. 

Mixing the Re - Education of Cameron post with demonic terror,Camp Damascus tells the tale of Rose Hill. A girl that loves her mom and dad, but more importantly loves Jesus and the bible more. 

We see the events unfold through the eyes of Rose, a young girl who has an abundance of curiosity and will research topics incessantly. She's not very good with people and she really isn't into the local hunk of The Kingdom of the Pines, Isiah, who has his eye on her. Except that her eyes are elsewhere, and they don't involve him.

From the very outset we know that there's something not quite right. We aren't sure what it is but there's definitely a levinesque lense to the whole situation, and throughout the story we get some increasingly bizarre events occurring, like why does Rose see an eyeless woman with taloned fingers? Or why does Rose inexplicably start spewing forth insects for no good reason? But more creepily, why does her mom and dad, the Ken and Barbie of this religious sect think it's no bother when said insects come spewing forth from her mouth. And why does Rose have no door to her bedroom?

Furthermore, who is the girl that Rose sees in her dreams?

Tingle cleverly keeps things vague, slowly building these inexplicable questions. However, it is not until a shocking incident occurs that things start to come to head and Rose begins to question all that she believes. This starts a chain of events that uncovers the truth of The Kingdom of the Pines and Camp Damascus.

However, whilst on the whole the book is good, there were some little things that kinda annoyed me a little with the book. At times, I thought that there were instances where the personality of the author overtook the character, and whilst I see that it may be a little joke, found the overuse of the word tingle to describe certain sensations sometimes a little obtrusive. 

The other was that, I felt that your hand was held a little when it came to some of the reveals, particularly the metaphysical manifestations of the demons. I liked the first half of the book where it kind of let you decide whether these were real occurrences or in actual fact a subliminal reawakening of the trauma that Rose had experienced.

However, on the whole,it was an enjoyable story and the ending was satisfying. I liked the elements of social commentary that lie behind the book.


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