Publication Date: February 16th from Allison and Busby.
Source: Review Copy
Matt Hunter lost his faith a long time ago. Formerly a minister, now a professor of sociology, he’s writing a book that debunks the Christian faith while assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes. On holiday with his family in Oxfordshire, Matt is on edge in a seemingly idyllic village where wooden crosses hang at every turn. The stay becomes more sinister still when a local girl goes missing, followed by further disappearances.
Caught up in an investigation that brings memories to the surface that he would prefer to keep buried deep, Matt is on the trail of a killer determined to save us all.
Purged. Wow. Stole a day of my life and possibly a little of my soul. Definitely my sleep. Well they say there is no rest for the wicked…
From the opening salvo I knew this one was special. I read such a lot including as many debuts as I can get my hands on and I love some, I like more, I detest a few and then there are those few that scream “Ye Gods here is yet another obsession for you batten down the hatches”. Purged falls into that last category and I fell into it, there really was no hope for me.
ANYWAY none of that babble is going to tell you why you might want to read it so here are the headlines. The writing is smart, funny, dark as sin (yes I did that) and incredibly immersive. The plotting is pacy yet considered, the characters live and breathe on the page and the story itself is scary good. No I mean actually scary. And good. And randomly thought provoking. I’m not a religious person but the psychology of it interests me and I’m not one for pretending I know everything. More things in Heaven and Earth and all that…
I should perhaps make clear that this is not a religious thriller as such, no Dan Brown type shenanigans here, but it IS a crime novel that is also character study and has an edge to it that might freak you out somewhat. What? No I’m fine. Didn’t sleep with the lights on at ALL….
Matt Hunter is my new favourite thing. An ex minister, now a Professor, he has a traumatic past and these days writes and lectures, oh and occasionally helps the police with things. When we meet him he is doing just that and by the time he was done with that little taster for the rest I was hook line and sinkered. Also never going to eat lettuce again…
Loved his family too. The dynamic that Peter Laws creates is terrifically involving, I basically want to go and live with them. Just not in Hobbs Hill. Please. Clever because by the time things start to get strange you are so attached to them as a unit that you pretty much hold your breath for the rest of the read.
I don’t want to talk about the actual plot much because why on earth would I spoil it for the rest of you who are yet to head into it – BUT I will say that the shades and the nuances that the author brings to the story are incredible, especially when it comes to Matt Hunter, who I fell madly in love with and just want to follow around like a puppy. There are some dark and intriguing themes running through the narrative and Purged is far from being any one thing. It will make you shiver, it will also make you laugh out loud, I’m not sure where the series will go from here but I’m going to be going there with it. In fact if we could hurry things along please…
It would have been easy, with the authors life story , to write some Exorcist fuelled almost copy but nope, whilst Purged certainly draws from his horror film knowledge and his religious background this is a beauty of a novel, a perfect storm of authenticity and creativity – it is gripping, utterly riveting, doesn’t hold back and just sends you rocketing down into the reading abyss.
You think I’m a fan? Yep I think I’m a fan.
Highly Recommended. If this one doesn’t make my Top Ten of the year come Dec 1st 2017 then I shall be very surprised.
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