The Creeper | A. M. Shine
I recently read A. M. Shine's new book, The Creeper which was released earlier this year on 15th September by Head of Zeus.
I thought I would cobble some thoughts about the book together so I could tell you about this creepy tale of superstition.
Superstitions only survive if people believe in them...
Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen—until they arrive...
The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown. A nameless fear stalks the streets...
Nobody will talk—nobody except one little girl. Her story strikes dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer...
That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away...
The Creeper is a masterful tale of horror and suspense, by one of Ireland's most talented emerging authors.
Historian Ben, and archaeologist Chloe are sequestered by reclusive academic Dr Alec Sparling to aid him with his research.
They are promised not only academic gravitas but also a large financial payout which Ben desperately needs to pay off debts and also provide some financial support for his estranged daughter.
With his expertise on Irish mythology and supposedly positive experience of interviewing difficult participants, and Chloe's interest in 19th century Irish archeology, they are tasked to go to the isolated village of Tir Mallacht to investigate Irish folklore, particularly the stories of The Creeper.
Armed with the knowledge that the village has remained cut off from civilization for two hundred years, the pair set off to interview the inhabitants. What they find is a village that does not welcome outsiders and are positively aggressive towards the pair.
As far as the story goes we will stop there because the less you know about the story the better.
As this is the first book that I have read of A.M. Shine's, I have to say I am mightily impressed. I have to say that this is the first instance for a very long time where I have had that squirming tummy feeling due to the tension that A.M. Shine induces throughout the book.
Throughout the novel A. M. Shine masterfully layers the eeriness of the tale. There is this kind of adjunctive feelings of unease, and whilst you get the overt macarbeness, particularly when Ben and Chloe go to Tir Mallacht.
I loved the building of the legend of the creeper and how the tale insidiously encroaches on the lives of the characters, until it is eventually revealed. In addition to this, The Creeper seems to be a phantasmagorical entity that sits there lying at the edge of the story, always a presence even when the story doesn't focus on it.
The characters in the book are fantastic. Ben with his analytical mind is completely annoying and there were many times throughout the story there were a number of faceplants at Ben's response to the events that are occurring. Chloe was one of my favourite characters. Whilst seemingly innocuous Dr Alec Sparling is a mystery and as we see his character develop we learn more and more about what is going on.
If you are expecting a fast paced horror novel, The Creeper isn’t that. It builds the tension slowly, twisting the screw with each new bit of information. There is always that feeling of dread, and A.M. Shine carefully plays with your expectations. You know the direction that is going to be taking, but you just don’t know how or when.
I really enjoyed this introduction to A. M. Shines and will definitely be checking out their previous novel, The Watchers.