I’m one of those people who like horror movies, I think being that ‘kind’ of scared is fun. But, as soon as I find myself alone, I regret watching those films, because I have an overactive imagination and I don’t like being in the dark by myself. So, I’ve learned to pass on these kinds of movies because my home alone time should be pleasant, not creepy and stressful. I kept this in mind when I willfully picked up a horror book: Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. I was excited to be re-visiting the horror genre, but confidant in my ability to put down the book and still keep my sanity, even if I found myself alone. It’s just a book right? A book isn’t as scary as a movie, because it doesn’t come with scenes that can be replayed over and over in my terrified mind, right? Well, I clung to that theory, until I realized this book had pictures!!!
Now Stephen King gave this book a good blurb, so I’m not just being a sissy. It was scary, even the king of horror thought so! And of course, my husband was away on business while I read the majority of it (it’s almost 500 pages long), so that didn’t help. Apparently my modest bungalow turns into a mansion of horrors while he’s away, but no matter. Why did I find it so scary? Well, Cutter used a well-feared tactic that successfully strikes fear into the heart of anyone: possessed children. And for anyone who doesn’t find weird kids creepy (the 5 or 6 people that can truly claim that) Cutter begins the book with a child being abducted by a supernatural being, so he’s also used the most common fear of parents the world over: a kidnapped child. He really goes for the jugular here, as you can see.
However Cutter (aka Craig Davidson) gives us a few moments of relief in the form of witty, often laughable dialogue between the three main characters. They are all hired killers, but their banter is fun, and their back stories are surprisingly evocative. This unlikely gang accompanies a woman into the backcountry of New Mexico to find her young nephew, who has been brought to one of these survivalist Christian camps called Little Heaven. It’s isolated to help their members find God among nature, away from the world’s temptations, etc. Yes, I’m aware that this aspect of the book probably instills a different sense of horror in many readers, it definitely did for me. The musical theme for Deliverance comes to mind when learning about this village in the woods-things are not quite right in Little Heaven.
So this book is gory, very gory. And, quite disturbing, but many people look for that in a horror novel, so you’ve come to the right place. Little Heaven is a worthwhile read because its author also writes successful literary fiction, so it’s a well-written book through and through, no matter what genre you like.