Aaron Boone is a haunted man. By his psychological problems, by his love for a woman he thinks he doesn’t deserve, but most of all, by memories of a string of brutal murders. Deciding he is a monster, Boone sets out for a place where monsters are welcome. A place called Midian.
For those familiar with Clive Barker’s work, either through his writing or his cinematic output (Cabal was the basis for his film, Nightbreed), there’s a lot of familiar ground in Cabal. There’s the notion of there is beauty in the monstrous, bodily transformation, the mingling of sex and death. And if you’re not already familiar, Cabal is a good place to start.
There are a few differing perspectives used throughout the story. Boone gets most of the first act, then the narrative switches to his girlfriend Lori. As she follows Boone, drawn to him despite what he’s done, she acts as our introduction to Midian. The section where she goes underground and we get brief descriptions of who and what she sees is one that always stays with me. There is also Boone’s psychiatrist, Decker, who has his own secrets and there is the local sheriff who resolves to destroy Midian once it’s existence is discovered.
It’s a short book (actually a novella) and a quick read. That’s also of my few complaints with it. I always finish it wanting to know more about the Breed. There’s little background given to Midian and it’s inhabitants. The story doesn’t need it, it works perfectly well without; I just wish it was there .
Cabal is a story that I’ve come back to every couple of years since I first discovered it in my teens. I expect I’ll come back to it again. I just wish there was more of it.