Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY TONY JONES
“David Moody returns to the world of “Haters” after a six year hiatus“
I’m a huge fan of David Moody and have read the majority of his fiction, however, I was surprised to hear he was returning to the world of his “Hater Trilogy” as it all seemed done and dusted when book three concluded in 2011. “Haters” was as fine a piece of brutality as you’re ever going to read, but it was also laced with humour, terrific apocalyptic destruction and a range of characters battling it out as humanity crumbled. Why return to it? Authors picking over the bones of their finest works does not often work out for the best and I am not a fan of series which outstay their welcome.
Ultimately only David Moody can answer that “why” question and maybe he really believed there was life in this story still. But I’m not so sure. If you’re read “Haters” the weakness of “One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning” hits you in the face after only a few pages, it’s a parallel story to “Haters” with the events taking place in a different location, but pretty much at the same time. So straight away there is a lack of suspense, no matter how strong the action sequences are, you generally know where the story is heading. Perhaps this new work will be a stronger read for those who haven’t tackled “Haters” previously?
Nobody likes a predictable novel, but that is exactly what this is, a re-tread of something I felt I’ve come across before, and was much better the first time around. There are no characters in “One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning” to rival Danny McCoyne from the original novel and after a while I wasn’t too bothered with who was going to get killed off, or survive, all involved were pretty bland.
The plot of “Haters” is a deceptively simple one, but is brutally effective, a certain percentage of the population go through some sort of mental or chemical switch and the result is a never-ending urge to kill those who haven’t changed. The novel calls them ‘Haters’ and ‘Unchanged’ and the Haters wage a high-octane battle to exterminate the others. It’s a vicious trilogy, this new story is similar except for the fact it is set on a remote island in the North Sea used by a company for business and company teambuilding exercises. The first killing on the island is deemed an accident, but before long the bodies begin to mount up. Meanwhile, if you’ve read “Haters” you’ll know what is going on elsewhere and why the rescue boat fails to materialise, even if the poor suckers on the island do not. Of course, this new novel is seen from the ‘Unchanged’ point of view, whilst much of ‘Haters’ was seen from the ‘Haters’ point of view. Maybe this will alter in book two.
One of the strengths of “Haters” was the setting, a city where the sudden unexplained epidemic of murders worked beautifully as everything else disintegrated, this doesn’t happen in this novel as the remote island setting just does not have that many plot options and if anything stifled the action you would usually see in a Moody novel.
Moody says on his website the reception to this new book has been “polarising” and I’m not surprised. There’s just not enough on offer for old time fans unless they’re content with more of the same, and if they are they will probably be happy. It is all somewhat jaded and lacks the killer edge of “Haters”. Moody also says on his website book two in this new trilogy, due later in 2018, “All Roads End Here” will tie into events of the original book two “Dog Blood” so it will be interesting to see whether we cross paths with Danny McCoyne or his vicious little daughter again.
The novel does have some brutal sequences, opening with a beauty when a Hater teenager murders several other children with a chain on a boat, many choosing to jump to a watery death than face her wrath. Moody does this sort of thing well, and there are plenty to hang the novel together. His violence is very realistic, but he never glorifies in it, something I’m not a fan of. I’m sure David Moody will find many of his loyal fanbase do enjoy this novel, most of which will disagree with this review, but I would rather have seen him come up with something fresher.