Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle: Horrifying and Real

Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.

Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.

And they’ll scare you straight to hell.

With Camp Damascus Chuck Tingle has created a horror story that is equal parts horrifying and real. While the horror elements are slow to begin, once they do they will grab your attention and make you see the fear in the very real world that Chuck Tingle has created. The monsters are terrifying because we know these monsters. They are the ones around gay teens all the time and Chuck Tingle does a fantastic job of showing the very real terror in our real world. 

I also like the character that he creates with Rose, especially with her being autistic. Those elements and her voice come through clearly and he is extremely respectful to those elements, treating Rose and her voice with love and truthfulness. The one oddity is that Rose seems younger, especially at the beginning of the novel and it did throw me out of the story until I saw that there was a purpose to presenting her as a teenager. It is crucial so allow time for the author’s reasons to shine through. It enhances the story and the horror elements. 

I love that the monsters are not what you expect or maybe they are…..?  If you’ve lived in the real world, you’ll know there are scarier things than demons. But Camp Damascus has all of those fears and monsters, each well written and will cause your flesh to crawl, just a bit. The ending is just fantastic and well worth the slow build of the novel at the beginning. The novel is horrifying and real which makes it even scarier. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 demons.

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