As I mentioned last week, I'm currently neck deep in "Dog Blood" by David Moody. As it is the sequel to his novel "Hater," I felt that I should review that first and bring people up to speed. But don't take just my word for it! Check out a ton of other reviews here!
A quick reminder: make sure to tune in to the blog tomorrow morning for the latest installment in the Midnight Society! I think a Creature Feature is in order this week, don't you?
And now, without gilding the lily and with no more ado, my review of David Moody's "Hater":
Have you ever felt like there was something wrong with the people around you? Not anything you could put your finger on, but just something...off. And have you ever felt that these people, for whatever reason, didn't deserve to live anymore? If you have, you might be a Hater. If you haven't, then I'd suggest you find a safe place to hide, because the Haters are coming for you.
In his panic inducing lead-off hitter of the "Hater" trilogy, David Moody drops us into a world quietly nudging toward the brink of chaos. Through the eyes of Danny McCoyne, a well-meaning, blue-collar family man, we discover that all is not peaceful and serene in our civilized world. Old ladies are attacked for seemingly no reason, one schoolgirl bashes her best friend's head in with a rock without a moment of hesitation and perfect strangers become mortal enemies in an instant. As Danny McCoyne tries to hold his family together while navigating the perils of this new, unhinged society, it's slowly becoming apparent that there are two types of people out there: the Haters and the Hated. As to which side Danny comes out on, well you'll have to read the book to find out!
With expert pacing, Moody delivers fistfuls of gore alongside a gray moral ground fraught with impossible decisions. Should McCoyne risk his neck in the lawless streets to rescue his arrogant father-in-law? Should he beg, borrow and steal whatever is necessary to provide for his family? Can he trust his family at all or is it possible that one of them may be a Hater, locked in on the wrong side of the barricade?
McCoyne, as a character, is instantly relatable: he's an every-man with a bitch of a boss, a go-nowhere job and an unappreciative family that just won't give him two seconds of rest. He experiences equal moments of bravery and cowardice as he attempts to figure out what's going on in his city. The government is all but worthless and the tenuous truce among strangers soon degenerates into paranoia and suspicion. Only near the end of the novel does McCoyne finally find his clarity.
Though the narration from McCoyne's perspective is limited, Moody adds an "off stage" incident every few chapters, highlighting the brutal and arbitrary nature of the Haters. While this gives the reader a good overview as to what's going on in McCoyne's world, it can also become frustrating to the point that one wishes McCoyne would just hurry up and figure it out already! But frustration in this case is a good thing, as it keeps the pages turning faster and faster to find out what the Haters are all about. The sustained tension throughout the story is resolved with a satisfyingly chaotic ending. "Hater" ends, not on a cliffhanger, but on a moment of realization that would serve well for a standalone novel, but provides the perfect bridge for the sequel, "Dog Blood." The stage is set; will you be a Hater or the Hated?
PS: If I ever get the chance to be a Hater, I will most likely rage to this song: