This is a book that shouldn’t have worked for me. There’s little characterization and what is there made the MC come off as an insufferable prig. The book follows a formula of the film crew going to one location, talking to someone attached to the cult, being spooked out by the house on location…and then moving on and doing the same thing over-and-over. The scares themselves are of that jumpscare variety that’s never been my kind of horror. And it takes 531 pages to get through it all…culminating with an obnoxious Final Battle.
But all told, this was a pretty good book.
I can’t say why exactly but I couldn’t stop reading it. Maybe it was Nevill’s pacing, of which he did an excellent job. Maybe it’s because I’m fascinated with cults and wanted to see what the deal was behind these people. Maybe that I wanted to see how the Final Battle culminated even though I figured how it would.
But it worked for me. I don’t know that I’d consider Adam Nevill the British Stephen King as it says on the blurb. That’s an incredibly high bar to begin with but his style in both prose and horror is also nothing like King’s. It is good though for what it is.
This book taught me that I need to read more occult fiction. I clearly have a curiosity for it, going back to last year with The Devil’s Wedding Ring. And there are probably better titles out there than this one.