Once in a while I like a good horror novel. For me, that’s psychological and character-driven rather than everybody dying in a mess of gore. Adam Nevill's Last Days hit the spot. It pulled me in quickly with good, even-handed writing and a main character that I instantly felt that I knew: the gore came later, in small, spicy doses.
In the beginning, artistic thirty-something Kyle Freeman is disillusioned, disaffected, and indebted. His award-winning films have earned him a cult following, where "cult" translates into no money and no producers for further projects. When the CEO of a New Age line of films approaches him and offers him creative control over an investigative piece, it seems too good to be true—but impossible to refuse.
The assignment is to delve into the history of a 70’s era cult that ended in mass murder/suicides. The CEO has connections, and has arranged never-before-allowed interviews with survivors in London, France, and California. Kyle is soon following what may be the blueprint for his own destruction, as every brush with the cult’s old stomping grounds leads to more seemingly paranormal activity. Footsteps in an abandoned house: a blurry figure caught on film whose shape isn’t quite right. Stains appearing in the form of twisted skeletons, as if malformed creatures tried to push through the walls and left negative imprints behind. A tiny shoe, dark and old-fashioned, smelling of death and ash.
Last Days is an enjoyable horror novel that will leave you totally creeped out and unable to walk around your house in the dark for weeks—at least, I’m hoping it will only be weeks. Ask me in March.