Friday, 10 August 2007

Shaun Hutson Omnibus Part Two - 'Nemesis' (Orbit Books)

The journey into work was a nightmare today so I ended up finishing this one quicker than I thought. It was a quick read for other reasons as well but more on that later...
What could possibly be worse than your four year old daughter being murdered? The knowledge that you were having an affair the night she was killed... That one night left Sue and David Hackett's marriage in ruins. They move to the small town of Hinkston in an attempt to salvage their relationship but their past will catch up with them and the town holds a dark secret of it's own...
Hutson injects this 'Midwich Cuckoos'/'The Omen' style tale with a creeping sense of fear and dread that will make you tense up and half close your eyes every time you turn the page. David's quest for redemption will initially make you feel disgust but I challenge you not to feel a little sorry for him by the end. The ending is a shocker in more ways than one. Again, you will be left gasping as this book is not for the even faintly sqeamish...
Hutson's penchant for 'full on, in your face detail' ultimately hobbles a story with potential. I've got a pretty strong stomach but to my mind there was no need for such a graphic explanation of how David's daughter died and what was done to her. We know she died and certain inferences were made at the time. Returning to it just smacked of cheap sensationalism.
A good book that was undone by something that was needless.

Three out of Ten

3 comments:

Violet said...

Dear Graeme,

You bring up a very important point here. I personally feel that unnecessary gore is down to laziness. If the author can't write it in a way which triggers one's imagination, then surely they have failed? I don't know about you, but my imagination is pretty good and just needs a little prompting to really get going. Having everything spelled out doesn't help much.

I suppose other explanations are just attention seeking, or maybe even coded confessions? Who can tell.

I look forward to your next review.

Yours,

Violet

GS said...

If I remember correctly, Shuan Hutson is a bit of a 'shock-jock' and goes darker and deeper than is comfortable for most people.

From Wikipedia:
'At the time of the interview, Hutson was well known for his horror works, which were unflinching in their depiction of scenes both sexual and horrific (and sometimes both at once); when asked if there was ever a time when he felt he had to censor or tone down something of his own accord, he admitted that there was a necrophilia scene he'd been working on in one of his books that he ended up toning down as he was enjoying writing it "a bit too much".'

It's just not an area that I'm interesting in visiting.

So is Graeme going to get the rest of his books?

A disillusioned Naija girl said...

I think Violet raised a valid point, regarding the author's laziness. This was my first (and last) foray into Shaun Hutson's work, and I was not impressed. The appeal of the best horror work lies in the author's ability to intricately create an atmosphere in your head. Hutson no doubt has an imagination; however he seems more preoccupied with shocking the reader. Unfortunately these efforts can easily be preempted, so I found myself unimpressed, both in the first, and in the second. Where the first was simply lacking direction and focus, the second just seemed to contain everything but the kitchen sink - the thriller whodunit, to the affair, to the horror creature, to the weird cannibalistic children. None of these topics was explored fully, giving the reader a half-assed exploration into the mind of (dare I say it) a simple pervert.

Hutson's preoccupation with young characters is also unsettling (and, dare I say this again, might be indicative of a mental problem with the author himself). In the second book, Nemesis, the wife was only 25?! Meaning she had her baby at age 21? I assumed there was a reason for this, but apparently not. And the shocker at the end of the book - not so shocking. After reading such a vivid description of a young girl's rape, I found myself more irritated than shocked at such a cheap attempt to keep me reading. I couldn't wait to finish the book, so I could move on to something better into which more effort had been put..