By: Nick Cutter
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Stephen King’s It, in which a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers…and it wants them all.
New Nick Cutter novel! Horror isn’t a genre I usually read but for me Nick Cutter seems to be the exception as I pretty much have read all of his books to date (save one). So I pretty excited when I heard that he was coming out with a new book and I got my hands on the ARC. This book will be available on 10 January 2017.
A bit of an advanced warning: my road to getting around to reading this book was a long and winded one. I technically started sometime before Christmas–not exactly Christmas reading material here, but with the release date around the corner I was making an effort to read it before then–but then I was reading a bunch of other books (mainly poetry) and then I also hit something of a reading slump so I didn’t really get a feel for the book until the previous week when I finally made the effort to finish reading it. So the following review may be a bit off but I’m trying to maintain my sense of objectivity here 😛
Having said all of that, Little Heaven is a slower burn than his previous books, starting in 1980 but then does a flashback to the 1960s to show what happened in the past that led to the characters’ present predicament. So getting a sense of the characters, getting to know them, and their situation–and what the general situation is–takes a bit of time, which may confuse readers at first (and perhaps contributed to me not reading it straight right off the bat). But once the story takes shape and the characters are on the road to Little Heaven, the story does pick up a notch and hits its stride.
And it is creepy. Throw in a religious cult living in the middle of nowhere (complete with a human antagonist with a hard childhood instilled with religious severity and discipline and a taste for torture =S ), weird “creatures” living in the forest, an old malice, and Nick Cutter’s signature icky happenings (I’m referring to The Troop (review) level of ickiness; if you hate insects, this book will freak you out) and yeah, this book is quite the horror thrill ride. The characters seem pretty generic and there’s not much of a character arc happening except for Micah, but nonetheless it was interesting to read the three main characters interact. And again, the ending is quite the signature Nick Cutter ending in that it wraps up the story but it’s tinged with defeat with victory, if that makes any sense…
Also, I’m pretty sure it’s going to show up in the final copy since it was in the advanced reading copy, but hey! Comes with a few illustrations 😛
So while it took me a while to get around to it, Little Heaven was an interesting and chilling read. It felt a little more ambitious than his previous novels in that the scope is wider, covering a back-and-forth timeline of events and a wider range of characters. If you’re a fan of horror novels, definitely check out this book and Nick Cutter’s other books!