I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Gallery Books on January 10th 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Horror
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An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down...old-school horror at its best.”
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.
A set of mercenaries are hired by a woman to escort her into the wilderness to find her nephew who has been forced to live with a fanatical cult by his father. What they find, is not what is expected or entirely of this world. Something is stalking the wilderness and it is anything but holy. In order to save their charges, the trio must face something ancient and cunning while struggling to survive the slow twisting of Little Heaven towards evil.
Little Heaven snuck up on me and before I knew it I was jumping at shadows.
First off, Little Heaven scared the hell out of me. I began this novel confused by the characters: who was who and how did the fit into the novel? Little Heaven also skips around in time a lot at the beginning: a man’s daughter is abducted by a dark force, three gun toting associates set off to find her and memory of a town created by a cult in the shadow of evil..yet, once the novel got rolling, the descriptive language, masterful story telling and the slow, but still riveting unraveling of the history between the gunslingers and Little Heaven had me hooked.
Slow and realistic, Little Heaven is a novel that sneaks up on the reader. A well researched and well developed plot contribute to a skin crawling read of exceptional portions.
Little Heaven is a novel that highlights Cutters’ skills as a horror writer. The tale is coherent, semi-realistic and deliciously creepy. Additionally, unlike Cutters’ novel The Troop, there is less description of horrific animal abuse and less “in-your-face” creepy crawly action which is evidence of Cutters’ progressing skills in horror writing. Anyone can write horrific scenes. A master horror writer can utilize language and manipulate their readers using the understated to create a chilling scene. Cutter does this wonderfully. Maybe it’s just because Cutter did not use giant tape worms, but I found that the disgust factor was less the focus of Little Heaven and the creep factor was more prominent. A welcome evolution for Cutter.
The part I appreciated the most about Little Heaven was the research Cutter put into the cult People’s Temple, a cult who drank poisoned Koolaid under the directions of their leader Jim Jones. The fanatical belief and the manipulative speeches by Preacher Flesher were all very loosely based on the People’s Temple. The obvious care in developing Little Heaven as a cult, the creation of complex main characters and some really intense, skin crawling imagery is what made Little Heaven great.
The novel starts off slow with character backstory and history which bogged down the overall plot, but once the characters reached the cult of Little Heaven, it was well worth it since it created a rich tapestry of history which made the characters more real.
The only part of this novel I found lacking, was the beginning filled with backstory. Although necessary for setting up the rest of the novel and the intricate relationships between characters, it was somewhat boring and difficult to wade through. The over abundance of detail, if I had not received this as an ARC, probably would have caused me to give up reading this novel..I couldn’t remember the synopsis of the novel by the time the group was headed to Little Heaven. However persevering through all the details and backstory paid off. The novel, once Little Heaven came on scene, was exceptional and probably Cutters’ best work to date. Insidious and covert, the fear slowly builds during this read and catch up to the reader without their realizing..this is what real masterpieces in horror are all about!
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy horror, novels about cults and are willing to put in the effort to learn about the world before the main action starts. I do not suggest this to readers who do not like a lot of gore or inappropriate language.