Children of Chaos is a darkly brooding novel of sin versus salvation – good and evil bound together in eternal combat.
Three boys - Jamie Wheeler, Phil Moretti, and Martin Doyle leave a carnival one rainy night. Crossing a vacant field in the tiny, quiet town of New Bethany, they stumble across a strange man in a tent. Upon his bare skin scars flow and move independently; upon his back is tattooed the word Chaos. That evening, a little girl is decapitated, and the boys are convinced the scarred man did it. Taking two items from his backpack - an odd book with a sun symbol on the front and a strange-looking sword - Martin turns the sword against the scarred man and kills him. It's a secret the three boys will hold for an eternity, literally scarring them for life. "I think we just killed God," Jamie says.
Over twenty years later, now in their forties, Phil is a washed-out, alcoholic writer, Jaime is a priest defrocked for pedophila, and Martin is missing. Mrs. Doyle, on her deathbed, summons Phil, luring him with money to travel to Tijuana Mexico to track down Martin’s last known location and bring him home to her. The private detectives she has hired have all failed and either gone missing or gone mad. Phil reluctantly accepts.
He finds Jaime in Tijuana, too, hopelessly hooked on heroin and underage girls, yet his faith is stronger than ever. Martin has holed up in an ancient church far off the beaten path, down a road known as the “Corridor Of Demons.” He hires mercenary "escorts" to take him into the desert.
Children of Chaos is an intense search for the differences between God and the Devil, good and evil, yin and yang, and of the preordained destiny of humankind. It's a different kind of story for author Greg F. Gifune, one about the struggle of mankind. Both sides are argued well, leaving readers to determine on their own who is really crazy and who isn't. Heavy religious undertones, the supernatural and superstition lend a very dark tone to the book that makes it considerably more interesting.
Will Phil be able to overcome Martin's cult seclusion and protection to talk to him, or will he simply disappear like the rest of the investigators? People claim that Martin is in their head; will Phil be able to sort out this gist of their stories now that Phil is hearing the voices as well? Gifune is the master of "quiet horror" and one of the best writers I've ever come across. His pages flow like water under your fingertips and into your mind. While
I liked The Bleeding Season and Saying Uncle more than Children of Chaos, this book is still worthy of the highest rating and a fireside read – just light the lamp and some candles for the right atmosphere for reading this powerful novel.