Starve Acre - Andrew Michael Hurley

When the death of their son happens to quickly for them to wrap their heads around, Richard and Juliette have to suddenly deal with the after effects of crippling grief and whether their faith has been knocked down too far to pick up again. Juliette strongly believes that their son, Ewan, is still with them in the house but Richard wants to move on. After a series of spooky events Richard can no longer ignore Juliette's declining connection to the real world.

Immediately the book gives off strong mysterious and horror themes that reveal too much and too little all at once. I was prompted to continue by just the pure desire to figure out what was haunting the house and whether Juliette was actually seeing Ewan. Immediately I did not connect with Juliette, I cannot comment on the mindset of a mother who has lost her child but the only person with any ounce of clarity was Richard. The characters were seriously troubling, I couldn't figure out what any of them other than Richard were actually trying to achieve. That actually played into the hands of the author because it added to the sense of mystery and delusion that are prominent in the book.

Little children in anything horror based is always going to score highly for me. Ewan's decline when he started to wander off on his own and creep his parents out was also bothering me, I couldn't quite tell what he was about to do and his skittishness became unpredictable for the reader - again an advantage for Hurley. With a majority of the publicity of the book being focused on how this is a folklore gothic novel I was anticipating this to get creepier and involve actual spirits/ghouls and this did not disappoint. Without ruining the ending I will only detail this; it got weird, fast. This was a rare book where you are left thinking about it once you close the cover and even now I am still reeling from the insanity of it all.

This is well worth a read for anyone who doesn't mind being creeped out by books, and if you can overlook annoying characters who (as with most horrors) have no commonsense.

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