Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Starve Acre - Andrew Michael Hurley


The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby's son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.

What did I think?

What in the name of all that is holy have I just read?  I have never been so creeped out by a book but being able to evoke such emotions meant that I strangely enjoyed it.  I have never read the critically acclaimed The Loney so this is my first introduction to Andrew Michael Hurley's writing and wow can he write!  It's like Andrew Michael Hurley studied horror writing at the University of Stephen King and graduated with first class honours.  

Starve Acre is a very creepy place, reputed to have had an old hanging tree on the land of which Richard is searching for evidence.  When his son Ewan was alive, Ewan claimed to be able to see this fabled tree and Ewan could also hear the voice of scary legend Jack Grey, telling him to do certain wicked things.  Richard's wife, Juliette, is obviously suffering terribly after the loss of her son but she claims to see Ewan in the house.  The story gets really spooky when Juliette invites a group of occultists into her home and even the leader of the group is creeped out by the house.

Starve Acre is deeply atmospheric, as well as being very weird and horrifying but I rather liked it.  Not only due to the lack of chapters, but because of the increasingly intriguing and spooky storyline, it's a book that is very difficult to put down.  To say that it is weird would be an understatement; if you think Stephen King books are weird then Andrew Michael Hurley is like Stephen King on steroids.

Starve Acre is a difficult book to recommend to all as it fits more of a niche group of readers; you definitely need to have an open mind and not take your fiction too seriously.  If you're looking for something different with a hint of the supernatural and a huge dollop of weird, then you'll love Starve Acre.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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