Aug 112021

Booklist: Mohamed (Beneath the Rising, 2020) offers a new novella with stunning artwork by illustrator Carly A-F. The story starts with a group of courtesans, led by the protagonist, Jewel, who work in a luxurious, high-end brothel. Mix in murder, a lust for revenge, living dead girls, and rituals in an abandoned church to create a unique, lyrical story: Mohamed is skilled at combining just the right ingredients in a recipe that makes for a gothic delight. The main characters exist in a futuristic dystopia where they oversee funerary processions and funerals that mostly happen at sunrise. As it turns out, our motley band of characters has some enemies and face danger from them, but will they be able to survive? While the novella is steeped in a Victorian, Picture-of-Dorian-Gray style, it reads smoothly and has a cinematic quality. It is a fast-paced tale that fans of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels will enjoy. The lustrous prose and lush settings will also tantalize fans of Anne Rice.