Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Scotsman Abroad | The Last Days of Novel Docu-Horror

Time is in short supply today - this whole week, even, because I'm filling in for an absentee tutor - so I can't stop to talk for long. Sorry! But I did want to direct your precious attention to the most recent of my reviews to be published on Tor.com.

It's of Last Days by Adam Nevill, and in short, if you're even a passing fan of the horror genre, you really should read this book.

Excepting the "divisive denouement" I mention in the quote reproduced below, I truly did adore The Ritual, and if Last Days isn't quite its equal, then it comes close enough to warrant a good, long look. It's a book about the making of a documentary movie about a creepy cult, and though its middle section sags somewhat, it begins brilliantly, and it ends reasonably well as well. Which is more than you can say for the vast majority of horror novels.

Luckily for all involved, this isn't the moment for me to go off on one about that topic — again!

There's just time for me to share the first few paragraphs of my full review, and say adieu:
"Adam Nevill has gone from strength to strength in the years since he invited us all to dine with the dead in his promisingly ominous horror fiction debut, Banquet for the Damned. Its successor, Apartment 16, gave no signs of a sophomore slump, and despite a divisive denouement, The Ritual stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best novels of the genre in recent recall. Now, like creepy clockwork, Nevill’s come a-calling again, and Last Days is his unholy offering.

"Interestingly, it purports to be a documentary clothed in prose — a narration of a found-footage film in the making, which is itself an elaboration of events that have been the subject of myriad other books and movies, in the fiction if not in fact: namely the last days of the Temple of the Last Days, an infamous suicide cult known to have met with a particularly grisly end in the mid-seventies. Unless I’m very much mistaken, this is Nevill’s longest novel to date, and perhaps it suffers somewhat for that in a lacking middle act and a conclusion that cannot quite bear the weight of all that goes before it, but by and large, Last Days makes for a vile and grimy ghost story, as gripping as it is ghastly."

Please do click on through to read the rest of my review of Last Days by Adam Nevill.

(Adam Nevill, who was lovely enough to namecheck The Speculative Scotsman in the acknowledgements — a first for me, as far as I'm aware. Thank you in turn, good sir!)

And then? Well... I do believe I've already advised you to buy this book. Overall, it's excellent. Not to mention the fact that it was exactly what I needed after an accidental string of science fiction.

So, anyone else read Last Days already?


  1. Excellent review, as always, Niall.
    And it reminds me that I really should get down to read the rest of Adam Nevill's novels. I read his debut novel, "Banquet for the Damned", but I still need to read the other ones. "Banquet for the Damned" was not the best of debuts, but it certainly was good. And it did show me a very strong author. I am certain that he grew as a writer since then :)

  2. There's a new Nevill novel? Somehow, this one totally slipped me by. A check at amazon, alas, shows why. It doesn't seem to be coming out in the US for another year. I think I'll have to get a copy earlier than that, though...

  3. @Nathaniel - Not to be a complete meanie, but I'm perversely pleased when that particular shoe ends up on the other foot. I mean, I'm just now getting to read Redemption in Indigo, fully two years on from its release in the US. It's quite good, too.

    Anyway, I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on Last Days, mate. It isn't exactly profound, but I enjoyed it awfully. Bet you a blog post you do too! :)

  4. @Mihai - He certainly has, Mihai... grown as an author, that is. That said, if you were going to read just one of Nevill's last few books, I dare say I'd recommend The Ritual over this — though Last Days is still markedly better than Banquet.

    Oh and hey, thanks for saying nice things! It really does make the difference.