I am humbled, both by the fact that Adam Nevill sent me this ARC and that I am mentioned in the acknowledgements. This is a horror author who I have long admired and whose work "The Ritual" has been made into a major film. All of this and he takes the time to thank me. I mean who am I that I warrant any thanks? I still haven't managed to process this properly.
Even without the tears I shed reading the acknowledgements I would have given five stars to this story. The hardcover book is gorgeous, a real treat, formatted and presented beautifully.
The story is dark and claustrophobic, like the caves it frequently dwells inside, yet expansive like the wild countryside of Devon that is described beautifully and evocatively within its pages. It is the land, both beneath and above the surface of Devon that is the star of the story, and that character is brought to life, warts and all.
The human characters are flawed yet strong like so many of Nevill's characters. No one here is truly good although some are truly evil. Those who serve the red queen and her white pups follow a long tradition that consumes them from within, giving strength to their rage in ways Kat (one of two heroines) comes to understand intimately. We are left questioning what Kat may become and that lends a haunting tone to the conclusion. We know that this is not over, nor will it ever be. The horror is cosmic in the Lovecraftian tradition.
I intend to record a video review to share at a Facebook event "Horror Weekend" in October. I'll share it on my blog as well should any readers/listeners be understandably averse for Facebook, and on my You Tube channel. By the time I record it perhaps my thoughts with regards to Nevill's affection for me might be better articulated.
I claim the "Masters of Modern Horror" square on Halloween Bingo with this book.