Let me start with a confession. At the time of reading, my sleep deprived mind struggled to understand fully what was happening in "Death Moon". Basically, this review is my attempt to process what I read. Pardon my jumbled mess!
Beware the "Death Moon" - "the last full moon of winter" which, for occultists and sex ritualists, offers the possibility of protection from various demons. At what cost? Blood, lots of blood. Trust me, "Death Moon" is not for squeamish puritans.
"Death Moon" is a demented love story. Tom and Lila could not be better suited for one another. Tom's a cop looking for a serial killer. Lila needs blood and semen to ensure her protection. Tom has semen. And with Lila's help, Tom discovers his inner killer and supplies her with plenty of sacrificial blood to keep demons at bay. Tom's the psychotic yin to Lila's occultist yang.
Thank goodness Lila restricts her blood use to rituals held on Death Moon nights. That means only one night of mayhem and bloodshed each year, right? Wrong! The "fury" overwhelms them, and they come to live under a "never-ending death moon." Tom and Lila's killing fields are now open for business daily. Codependency rooted in heartache can be harmful to your health, it seems.
And really, if you were a murderous crazy pants, what type of blood would you want for your protection rituals? Would you want the weaker bloody runoff from slaughterhouses? Or would you prefer the ritually ideal blood of mangled human bodies? I'm guessing the latter, especially if your relational brokenness demanded super strong protection from inner and outer demons. Disturbingly, painful breakups, awkward family lives, and crushing loneliness lead Lila and Tom into a frighteningly codependent relationship marked by torture and human sacrifice. Bummer huh?
"Death Moon" is my first encounter with the work of Sandy DeLuca. She's a highly regarded author whose books I've been looking forward to reading. I wish I'd read one or two of her novels before taking on this short story. I look forward to reading more by her in the very near future.
One piece of advice for those who decide to give "Death Moon" a try - eat before, not after.