Last Days

Adam Nevill
Last Days Cover

Last Days


This one didn't quite hit the spot for me. I don't know whether it's because I am tired at the moment or if it was something else but I struggled to be captivated by this book.

It's like all the ingredients are there and are perfect individually but when combined as a complete whole it just didn't seem to hang together.

The basic premise is that a wealthy 'spiritual / self development' guru hires a documentary film maker to make a film about a cult that ended in mass murder in the 1970's with a request to focus on the paranormal elements.

Of course the filmmaker realises that there is a paranormal element present and of course the cult still has a horrific influence thirty years later.

So the positives - all the tropes of destructive cults are present and all the right buttons are pushed, brainwashing, financial exploitation, sexual exploitation, dehumanising members alongside hierarchies, worship of a quickly deified leader, borrowing of occult traditions, distrust and self condemnation etc. I quite liked the descriptions and history of the cults - there was nothing to original but it did the job.

When Nevill gets it right he is a master of creating suspense and unsettling the reader. There are a couple of moments in the early part of the novel when the paranormal is introduced that are genuinely creepy. The regrettable thing for me is that it stops being creepy quite quickly. As the story increases its tension the horror is generally 'more of the same' and I found it quite repetitive.

Likewise, there are a couple of dream sequences which seem to go on for pages and are repeated in the novel. Nevill can be verbose but I never got a sense of horror, just more of the same thing.

There are a couple of interesting sections about how the cult was formed but even then I felt I was getting dumped a load of exposition and then by the last third of the book I felt the story just got stupid, with ridiculous characterisation and a generally outlandish plot to get to a finale (all explained in a big plot dump by a character - a lot of tell and not a lot of show).

I really struggled to like any of the characters in the book. I really didn't care what happened to them and there was only one moment where my emotions were tugged.

This review may seem a little scathing, it's perhaps not as bad as I made out but it was very much 'okay' rather than 'wow'