BOOK REVIEW: Last Days by Adam Nevill

Here at Geek Syndicate we love a bit of well written horror so we were excited to get our eager little hands on a copy of the latest novel by

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rising star of the horror scene Adam Nevill. Adam’s previous books have included The Ritual, Apartment 16 and Banquet for the Damned. Released by Pan MacMillan, Last Days is his fourth horror novel and throws us headlong into the world of cultists, guerrilla filmmaking and things that do more than just go bump in the night.

So, did Last Days make us have to sleep with the light on or did we just drop off? Read on for our review.

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Initially set in present day London, Last Days tells the tale of the rise and demise of the Temple of the Last Days cult founded by the infamous Sister Katherine in the sixties. Guerrilla filmmaker Kyle Freeman is engaged by philanthropist Maximillian Solomon to film the untold story of the cult through interviews with ex-members and others whose lives had been touched by the actions of Sister Katherine.

Tempted by the £100,000 on offer, and promises of total editorial control, Kyle is hooked and it doesn’t take him long to persuade his elite production team of sound man Dan and editing genius Fingermouse to help him. Following Max’s meticulously prepared filming schedule, and with money no object, they are whisked between London, France and the American desert on the hunt for the story which will put them firmly on the filmmaking map.

Except things go awry, things go awry in a very big way, as supernatural forces begin to take notice of Kyle and people around him start dying.

As you would expect from Nevill, the writing is very good with strong characters and generally well paced plot development. Last Days has the feel of a more traditional horror story brought into the modern day with the reveals coming slowly throughout without allowing the story to drag too much, even at 500 plus pages.

Last Days focuses on two obsessive egos; Sister Katherine’s desire for power and Kyle’s bloody mindedness at revealing the truth behind the cult and finishing his film at any cost. Although told anecdotally, with Katherine you get a real sense of the madness of a female Charles Manson capable of driving her followers to unspeakable acts of self-degradation. This is one manipulative woman you wouldn’t want to cross.

Kyle’s descent into his own personal hell gives the story its edge as he fights against the interference and manipulations of the purportedly philanthropic Max. His obsession with controlling the film makes him oblivious to the danger of the situation he and his crew are being put into until it is too late to back out. And that’s when things start to get really dark.

For me, Last Days is let down slightly by the ending as we are drawn into a final confrontation. Everything is pretty bleak at this point and I found myself feeling quite drained thus losing some of the engagement. Although the end works fine, it felt like an injection of pace was needed to give it the ending which the rest of the book deserved.

Overall the supernatural elements are convincing and you are drawn into the story to the extent that you’re biting your nails on one hand whilst turning the pages with the other. The horror, whilst terrifying, is not overly grotesque and is just about on the right side of dark to be universally popular. So what we are left with is another strong offering from Nevill which will leave you reading nervously into the small hours of the night.

4.5 out of 5

GS reporter: Phlambler

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