Queensland Premier’s Literary awards – Judges comments

The 2007 shortlist for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards was announced on Thursday 16 August. ‘Acolytes’ has been shortlisted. Following are judges comments.

Title: Acolytes

Author: Shane P Krause, Shayne Armstrong and John Hewitt

This is a horror story that belongs in the slasher genre, but it is far more than that would imply. It is so compelling a piece that it both excels within its form, and goes well beyond it.

The writing itself is a tour de force, and reading it as a script is like viewing the film and experiencing the cut. The experience of reading is almost physical, and the impression is virtual. We are impelled down this violent road through twist after twist, never quite knowing where we will find ourselves, never knowing who is victim and who is killer. Given the central place vehicles take in the story, we are in every sense driven madly, blindly forward, eyes wide open with horror and fear.

In the end, we discover that in the distorted world these characters inhabit the horror does not lie only in the crimes, but in the willingness of people to allow themselves to become involved in that horror, and for the kinds of reasons – admiration, respect, sincerity – which we normally associate with taking the right and decent path in life.

Finally, this is a rarity – a slasher film with intelligence, where the truth of this kind of crime is pursued as relentlessly as the seemingly endless succession of appalling crimes themselves are pursued.