15:28 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

AUTHOR: Andrew Michael Hurley
GENRE: Horror, mystery
WARNINGS: Some violence, strong language, heavy themes of religion

As a self confessed connoisseur of all things creepy and admittedly something of a snob about the horror genre, it's rare that I come across a horror novel with which I can find no fault. I tend more towards somewhat older books in the genre, when horror royalty such as Stephen King (horrible pun intended) and James Herbert and Ray Bradbury were at their peak. I picked up The Loney back in the summer, from Manchester airport, to act as poolside entertainment while in Mallorca. As it went, I actually didn't end up doing too much reading on holiday and totally forgot about reading it until fairly recently. 

The story follows a nameless narrator and his brother Hanny, a mute who suffers from learning disabilities. Following the death of their old vicar, the entire parish to which their family belongs takes his replacement on their annual trip; a pilgrimage to a rural, seaside town in the North and its shrine to Saint Anne, where they pray for Hanny to be 'cured'. Here the boys find the Loney, an isolated area on the sea front where they go to play and escape their mother's nervous and borderline-fanatical behaviours. A place they've gone to for years, the narrator confesses that the Loney can be a dangerous place, however, he and Hanny have never experienced any real threat there. Until their final pilgrimage. 

My only regret is that I didn't get round to it sooner. The Loney is well deserving of the 'Book of The Year' award it has won. Evocative of those older novels I hold so dear, Hurley creates an atmosphere that is genuinely unsettling from the novel's outset all the way to its disturbing conclusion. He also artfully crafts scenes that are legitimately terrifying and sometimes highly distressing. The Loney is well praised and with good reason. It also provides the kind of sickly twisted ending in which a character gets exactly what they want, just not quite in the way they might have hoped. 

All in all, The Loney is a fantastic, darkly beautiful, frightening novel, and definitely worth a read for anyone who's into horror. 

Happy reading, 
Jazz xo 

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