Review: Beyond the Gate by Mary SanGiovanni

Review: Beyond the Gate by Mary SanGiovanni

A research team discovers a gateway to another world. The company they work for is anxious to exploit the discovery. Then one of their staff dies in a way that defies comprehension and their team of scientists go missing on the other side of the gate, forcing the company to reach out to others for help.

Carl Hornsby is a local police officer who was at the scene of the Paragon scientist’s death. He gets dragged to Paragon when his partner’s health deteriorates. It seems Carl is immune to whatever they were exposed to when the scientist died, and Paragon sees him as a loose end.

Kathy Ryan is what you might call an occult and other-world expert. Whatever title she puts on her business card, Bad-ass God-defying Warrior would be applicable. She starts off showing her talents with research. One thing I really like about Kathy is that she does her homework. No rushing off, half-cocked, fueled by emotion. Kathy’s research leads her to a discovery; one of the missing team members is back on earth, hiding from Paragon. She’s determined to find him first.

Ultimately, all of their paths collide, and they’re forced to take measures none of them would have dreamed of. Venturing further in a recap would risk too many spoilers. What matters is that this is a novel that has a creeping, insidious way of crawling inside you and filling every fiber of your being with fear. Rarely are things as they seem. I don’t know much about the occult myself, but I do know this — the Old Testament references humans mating with supernatural beings and summoning the dead. There are a lot of ancient texts with references to things that defy our understanding. This is, perhaps, one of the greatest tricks of author Mary SanGiovanni; one might infer that a problem has been resolved in the conclusion to this book, but this reader’s own uncertainty about where the truth ends and the author’s imagination begins has left me deeply unsettled and fascinated.

SanGiovanni is a master horror writer who has crafted a spellbinding tale that blends elements of mystery, horror and dark fantasy expertly, filling readers with both a sense of dread and anticipation. Unpredictable and intense, this is a compelling page-turner I highly recommend.