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review 2020-06-03 13:18
The Loney
The Loney - Andrew Michael Hurley

by Andrew Michael Hurley


This story starts out taking its time, letting the reader get to know the characters. I thought when I was reading these early chapters that it explained why Stephen King liked it so much. It is told in first person, from the point of view of one of two brothers who visit the place referred to as The Loney every summer. It's a place where the tide comes in suddenly and the water is treacherous. Many bones have been found of those who misjudged their timing on the beach.


I'm not a big fan of stories about ordinary people so by the time I was getting close to halfway and starting to wonder when something was going to happen, I began to wonder why Stephen King had recommended it. One creepy couple had just made an appearance but otherwise I was finding it actually boring and far too religious for my taste. This was necessary to the story because there's a good and evil dichotomy involved, but it was still grating.


There were hints of something sinister happening but it was left to inference and never really explained. It was more a story about faith and fallibility than anything and although there was one moment when I felt fear from a purely physical source, too much was skipped over and left unexplained for me to feel like I've read a whole story or one that ever really got going.

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review 2020-04-17 15:24
Starve Acre - Andrew Michael Hurley

An unhappy house in an unhappy location in the Yorkshire Dales. Richard and Juliette lose their 5 year old and they both cope in different ways. The cover was atmospheric, as was parts of the story. It came across as dated, whether it was meant to be or just how it was written? I didn’t get much sense of brooding menace, so it wasn’t much of a chiller - no doubt other readers will find this novel sinister and evil! I might try one of the authors other books.

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review 2020-03-26 15:24
Devil's Day
Devil's Day - Andrew Michael Hurley

by Andrew Michael Hurley


Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up to help gather the sheep down from the moors for the winter. Usually his grandfather, known as the gaffer, tells tales that always begin with the devil and local rituals are believed to keep the sheep safe over the winter, but this year the gaffer has died and John has brought his wife along where they will both attend the funeral.


This story is a slow burner. It starts out following a lot of what looks like conversation with no real point, though eventually it begins to reveal some of the local happenings that suggest the town really is plagued by the Devil. There is some Yorkshire dialect which was very well done, though I wonder whether it will translate well to people who have never heard Yorkshire people speak. Beginning sentences with "It were..." might look like bad grammar, but it's part of the local colour.


The one thing I found difficult was that there are no chapters, though there are a few section breaks starting nearly halfway through. It's one never-ending read with the occasional skipped line where I could decide to use my bookmark and continue later. The thing is, the lack of any real action in the first 75% of the book didn't inspire me to want to keep reading. It's like a snapshot of life in a rural Yorkshire Parrish with a dark secret or two. I finished wondering what was the point of the story and still waiting for something to happen, especially as there were some good hints of foreshadowing.


Not a lot of action, but the writing was good.

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review 2019-10-30 14:55
Atmospheric and very unsettling
Starve Acre - Andrew Michael Hurley

Andrew Michael Hurley is an author I have come to admire very much. He uses the wild rugged unpredictable Lancastrian coast (The Loney) and the beautiful desolate Yorkshire dales as a setting for Starve Acre his latest novel. His stories cross a number of genres, part contemporary gothic with elements of horror, the supernatural, and local forklore with a dash of superstition. It works extremely well Starve Acre is a delightful unsettling novel to read.


Juliette and Richard move to the family home of Starve Acre in the remote Yorkshire Dales. Tragedy strikes their son Ewan at the very tender age of five. Naturally this event rips the family apart, Juliette in particular has disappeared into a make believe world where she senses that her son is still alive. Meanwhile Richard is obsessed with uncovering the roots of an ancient oak tree rumoured to the the location of historical hangings. When he unearths what appears to be the bones of a dead hare a mysterious transformation occurs one that will have for reaching consequences for the delicate Juliette.


As in the prize winning The Loney Andrew Hurley once again draws the reader in...the hope is that some peace will finally be granted to the fragile Juliette...but the author leaves his best surprise to the final paragraph of the final page and what emerges is not for the faint hearted. I most certainly look forward to further publications by Mr Hurley....enjoyable and uncomfortable in equal measures.

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review 2017-12-08 14:20
Devil's Day - Andrew Michael Hurley

Having enjoyed immensely The Loney with the quiet and isolated Lancastrian coast, I was hoping to be equally enthralled by Devil's Day where John Pentecost returns to the place of his childhood, the rural farming community of the Briardale Valley known as the Endlands. On this trip he is accompanied by his wife Katherine who is heavily pregnant with their first child. The reason for the journey is to attend his grandfather's funeral affectionately known to everyone as Gaffer.


Whereas The Loney had a great story to tell with a very unsettling conclusion, I found Devil's Day a rather laborious exercise and almost give up at the half way point. It is really a story of rituals, local folklore and introverted hillside sheep farmers. Legend has it that once a year the Devil returns to the valley in an attempt to unsettle the community and cause mischief amongst the sheep. By telling tales, regurgitating stories from the past, and redrawing the boundary lines it is hoped that the Devil can be kept isolated and the people of Endlands kept safe for another year. Endlands is that rare thing a place separate from the intrusion of the modern age entrenched in tradition and a population willing to fight for independence to maintain their link with the past. John Pentecost is drawn to the beauty and harshness, his wife Kat feels very uneasy as she is seen as an outsider and viewed with suspicion; tolerated more than accepted. There is however one acceptation, Grace Dyer, a young and rather consused teenager who with her odd power of prediction forms a very disquieting attraction towards a pregnant Kat.


The story is somewhat confusing and at times hard to follow as we view Endlands both in the present and the past. The narration is through the eyes of John Pentecost and we meet him in the present, in the company of his son Adam, trying to instil him the ways of his ancestors then, without warning we are immediately in the past again with a pregnant and suspicious Kat. Whereas The Loney used the landscape to great affect creating a wonderful modern horror story Devil's Day has some good ideas and moments played out through the characters of John, Kat, Adam, Grace and Dadda but essentially little seems to happen and ultimately leading to a somewhat predictable conclusion. Many thanks to netgalley and the publisher John Murray for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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