Introducing Brandon Dancer:
Now this guy is one sick fuck. He
and his wife not only led a little cult and held a small harem at their
house for regular orgies (now that's not yet particularly sick) and prayed
not to God and Jesus as the neighbours in their small Ohio community did
but a dark deity called Olivier (sick mainly to their Christian
neighbours), they also killed a bunch of people (rather sick no matter
which way you look at it) and at one occasion ate a baby (definitely
sick). Brandon and company were eventually tracked down because the baby
was the niece of one of the girls in their harem, but they all took their lives
rather than face the consequences for their deeds.
This guy is the total opposite of Brandon Dancer,
a good born-again Christian who not only goes to church every Sunday and
stays away from sex and alcohol, he is also an exorcist - a real one (at
least if you believe the books he writes about his exploits). Sure, Tappen
might have sinned in the past, but he has since found Jesus Christ, and
now everything is forgiven.
But of course, Frederick Tappen is not
really the good Christian he claims to be. I wouldn't go so far as to say
his Christianity is just facade, but he's the typical wannabe Christian
who thinks as long as he prays and goes to church and has no pre-marital
sex and doesn't drink, it doesn't matter too much anymore if he gives a
ratfart about all the other commandments. Especially when it comes to
forgiveness, Tappen proves to be anything but a true Christian in spirit -
inasmuch as he thinks he should be forgiven but is unforgiving when it
comes to the shortcomings of others. To put it short, he is one
This attitude even extends to his
exorcisms and especially the books he writes about them: Some of his
exploits he has
just imagined (which is at least excusable), some of them might have been
real, some comes from research he has conducted on the subject rather than
his own experiences, and some he has made up just so his books sell
better. He claims his exaggerations are for the greater good - but I
wonder what greater good that might be ...
Maybe it's just me,
but somehow Tappen reminded me of a real-life born-again Christian,
ex-president George W.Bush, who had no problems going to church sporting a
holier-than-thou face while waging an unprovoked war on a nation (Iraq, in
case you wondered) under a false pretense, killing thousands on both sides. Knowing
about author Dale
Pierce's misgivings about his ex-president, George W. might actually have
been one of the people he has based Tappen on.
views aside, one question remains:
What's the connection between
that sick bastard Brandon Dancer and that self-righteous bastard Frederick
Now that's an easy one: Tappen the exorcist has bought
Dancer the sinner's house to perform an exorcism (real or imagined, who
knows) and of course write a book about it.
At first though, the
Dancer-house proves to be a disappointment: No demonic apparitions, no
recurring bloodstains on the wall, nobody pukes peasoup, no nothing. In
fact the Dancer house proves to be completely boring. Sure, dog shit is
left on the doorstep from time to time, but whoever left it there was
neither a spiritual nor a canine being but someone who wanted to express his
dismay about Tappen bringing up buried memories about the Dancer-affair.
moving to this little Ohio community wasn't a total loss though, sure,
there's no exorcism to be performed, but he can still write a book about
it, right? And then there's Cheryl, a woman he meets at church one day and
soon falls in love with,
and she falls in love with him as well ... and befoe you know it, Tappen's
no premarital sex-rule is history. True, they might not fuck like
the bunny rabbits, but Tappen and Cheryl soon develop a very healthy
sexual relationship, their sex being sinful only according to Tappen's
own narrow-mindedness. Sure, their sexual games lean a tad towards the
kinky side, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Thing is, once Tappen has
crossed the no-sex-line, things start to happen: Tappen starts to see
ghosts, feels his own faith crumbling, and he thinks he is stalked by his
own estranged sister - a woman he hates with a passion.
Now you really
can't do anything against seeing ghosts, can you?
And if your faith isn't
as strong as it's supposed to be, you can't force it, either.
But you can
definitely do something about your sister stalking you - so Tappen
takes a drive to her hometown to turn the tables on her ... but once there
he learns she has died, quite a few years ago, she has thrown herself into
a river, committed suicide. Tappen suddenly remembers he knew this all
but suppressed the memories for some reason ... and suddenly he also remembers a dark secret
from his past: When he was a college freshman and promiscuous teen, not the bornagainer he
thinks himself to be today, he and his sister had a
threesome with a pastor's daughter, and after they got caught by the
pastor, the girl hanged herself while he found salvation in Jesus. His
sister though continued to walk the path of sin, which created an
unbridgeable rift between them.
When Tappen has finally
uncovered this dark secret of his past, he is relieved and returns home -
to find Cheryl in bed with Abby, a splitting image of his sister. Far from
being shocked or jealous, Tappen joins the two women, and with what he
believed to be his Christian faith more and more crumbling, Tappen seems
to be dragged into a maelstrom of sin and debauchery, one that replaces
his old religion (Christianity) with new-found faith in the dark deity
Olivier, and one that eventually leads to chaos, murder and death - but
telling more here would be giving the book away ...
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writing The Journal of Frederick Tappen, author Dale Pierce has set
out to write the most gruesome and most blasphemous novel ever. At least
in my eyes, he hasn't fully succeeded in either (but that of course is
coming from a non-believer who has zombie movies for breakfast).
a good thing though, because freed from its sensationalist ballast,
the story is allowed to develop in unexpected directions and explore quite
a few interesting angles of its basic premise.
I found Pierce's take on all
those wannabe born-again Christians the most refreshing: These are people
(and Frederick Tappen is not even the worst of them) who have sinned in
the past and do not really intend to stop doing so, but they think going
to church on Sunday, saying prayers, stay away from booze and carnal
pleasures will do the trick to get them salvation anyways. Tappen for
example thinks he is strong due to his (imagined) faith, but he is nothing
but a wealking without any strength of his own, so he puts his trust in
Jesus first, and later his own warped conscience drives him into Olivier's
arms, basically because Olivier condones his sexual shenanigans while the church doesn't. And when all of this leads to a downward spiral, it's
basically Frederick Tappen himself who is to blame.
knows the Christians he writes about almost intimately: The little Ohio
community he has set his novel in is his own hometown, and when reading
Tappen's ranting about the inefficient city council and the bad plowing
every winter, one can't help but feeling reminded of Dale's blog going on
about the exactly same things.
I'm not saying though that Frederick
Tappen is Dale Pierce's alter ego in every respect (Pierce himself once
wrote about the book "Very difficult to write that one as I had to
put msyelf in the mind of a total piece of shit for a person."), I
think he would like to see himself more in the guise of Olivier, the dark
overlord who tears the masks of the hypocrites populating his
neighbourhood ... and that's what the book is so good at, exposing
narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy, misunderstood faith and wrongly suppressd
And for all of this, this book is one dam good read!
yeah, and you can buy this book here: