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on 9 October 2010
Danny McCoyne witnesses an elderly woman randomly attacked by a man for no apparent reason in broad daylight and in the middle of a crowded street. Soon more people are assaulted by complete strangers and an epidemic ensues. Paranoia quickly spreads as "haters" retaliate against the general public. No one has any idea why people are suddenly changing; much like no one could explain why the world was beseiged by angry flocks of birds in Hitchcock's classic.

Moody does a nice job of showing us how it would be like if we were forced to isolate ourselves in order to survive in a world suddenly gone mad. There are some haunting scenes throughout the book. The reader will cringe at what happens when a drunk man and woman leave a bar and end up in a back alley, and the part with the poor patient on the operating table about to have a vasectomy is especially scary.

Don't expect this story to resolve itself at the end as Hater is the first installment of a triolgy (soon to be a major motion picture produced by Guillermo Del Toro), with the book Dog Blood being the second in the series.
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on 1 April 2011
I bought this book based on the front cover and a Guillermo Del Toro quote so I wasn't expecting too much. What I actually found was an intelligent take on the tired genre of zombie apocalypses. Moody's zombies are called "Haters" who inexplicably turn into violent monsters for no reason.
This book reminds me of I Am Legend, in that it attempts to give a voice to the monsters, and it takes a very hard us vs them stance, that the author hammers home from the very beginning, albeit in the least subtle way possible (the protagonist actually says Haters are scum for no real reason, which I thought was a bit lazy).
The chapters are short (some only a couple of pages) but this works really well, and helps to build the tension and immersion into the story.
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on 17 February 2013
Since encountering the work of David Moody in 2012, I have become a firm fan of the man's work. He constantly delivers dark, bleak, realistic stories that are bound to have an impact on the reader. His "anti sci-fi" novel Trust and post-apocalyptic Autumn series of books are well regarded and in fact, Autumn has received its own movie adaptation and was one of my favourite reads of last year.

Against that background, I set about reading Hater, originally published in 2006 and described as a "sci-fi horror" set right here in the UK.

The book is punctuated throughout with brutal episodes of violence that increase as the story progresses. Setting aside the substantial horror element involved in Hater, the initial plot thread could quite easily be a tale of domestic drama in its own right, with the daily trials and tribulations of Hater's central character Danny McCoyne: an everyman dealing with a young family, mundane job, financial woes and interpersonal relationships with his relatives and colleagues. Moody has taken his time to mature the plot before unleashing what he has in store for the universe that he has created. That is not to say that the book lacks pace or action; in fact, the first few pages are devoted to an assault on an old woman that will make you sit up, pay attention and keep turning those pages.

At under 300 pages and due to the pace of the book, coupled with the writer's ability to draw you into the world he has created, Hater is a quick read indeed. I appreciate that this may sound like the book isn't satisfying; far from it. Unlike many horror tales, Hater will make you think. Central themes of mistrust and paranoia married up with the normality of the central characters who find themselves thrust into an extraordinary situation, renders the book unique and more than worthy of a few hours of your time. The role of the media features heavily in Hater and for me, was particularly striking given relatively recent events such as the riots in England.

Moody has been criticised for the conclusion to this particular book. As it stands at the moment, I am of the opinion that such criticism is unwarranted, given that the book is not intended to be read as a single title but as part of the Hater trilogy, the second being Dog Blood, which I fully intend to delve into as soon as I possibly can. Additionally, it is worthy of note that this is NOT a zombie novel. Those viewing the front cover and perhaps even reading the synopsis and hoping for some kind of 28 Days Later type "infection" may be left disappointed. On that subject, the author is not shy about referencing works that may be a more direct source of inspiration for Hater, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Dawn of the Dead.

As a horror fan, I'm not shy of a bit of blood and gore. However, there were scenes within Hater that left me squirming; and perhaps more importantly, when I had finished the last page, I felt quite unsettled by the progress of the story. This is far from being a negative point and only further spurs me on to read the next book in the series.

I've already stated that I'm a fan of the author and his work. If you aren't convinced by my review, then I offer you the following: the movie rights to Hater have been snapped up by Oscar nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Blade II, Hellboy) who is quoted on the back cover of Hater saying:
"A head-spinning thrill ride, a cautionary tale about the most salient emotion of the 21st century."
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on 3 June 2012
Here is a story that doesn't mess about, is straight to the point and does what it does very well. A lot of people seem to either love it or hate it, and that's fair enough, we're all different. But the reasons for dislike are perhaps typical from those who simply want to hate (ironic, really, considering the subject matter) on a particular book/film etc.

First they say, it's badly written. I didn't find this at all. I found the descriptions rounded, the dialogue natural and the action well handled. Of course it's not Shakespeare, but then very little is. If you're only reading something for the prose, then you might as well throw out all your Lovecraft, P K Dick, S King, J Herbert and the rest, and go move into 'literary towers' because I didn't find any differences between this and the prose of those others (other than individual stylings). By which I mean it was good.

Second, accusations of boringness. What? It's a short book to start with, and crams so much action and events in, I can't see how anyone could find it boring. Yes, the initial build up is slow, but it's necessary for the story and the character building. I liked the descriptions of mundane home life, with the occasional flashes of violence, it made me feel for the characters more.

Perhaps it's because I've been raised on a diet of this sort of thing for years, but I really enjoyed the story, the concept and liked the fact that it was tied to the main characters point of view and everything of magnitude unfolded on the sidelines of his perception. In fact it reminded me of early James Herbert, in particular 'The Fog', which as far as I'm concerned is a good thing.

I would ask you to go into this book with an open mind, no preconceptions, and allow it to sweep you up in its story, you never know you might just like it in spite of yourself.
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on 13 February 2015
I did enjoy the films "28 Days Later" and "I Am Legend", although they were mostly the stories of the people who had survived and you never really got to see the other side of things. Maybe it's the psychologist in me, or maybe I'm just a little twisted, but I always wanted to know a little more about what had happened to the supposed "infected" people to turn them into what they had become. In "Hater", David Moody manages to satisfy my curiosity, as well as tell a decent story.

Danny McCoyne is a very ordinary man, working a job he hates in the parking enforcement department of a local council and struggling to make ends meets with a wife and three children to look after. One day, on his way to work, he sees a man viciously attack and kill an old lady on the street for no apparent reason. The next evening, the guitarist of his favourite band goes mad on stage and attacks his band members and then he sees a fight in a pub that results in a football fan being stabbed to death right in front of him and his children.

At first, these look like random, if extreme, acts of violence. But the news channels start reporting more and more such incidents and Danny sees it happening all around him. At first he suspects that the media is encouraging copy cat incidents, but it soon becomes clear there is more to it than that. The Government seems powerless to do anything and Danny can't figure out what is going on, until suddenly he is afflicted and kills his father-in-law. From this point, we get a new point of view that neither of the films above provided, in seeing the cause and effect of this behaviour through the eyes of someone caught up in it.

I loved the pacing of the story, as the action starts very early on and the pace of the story remains high all the way through the story. Even in the more mundane moments of life, like when Danny is at home with the family or just waiting for the gig he attended to begin, you always know that something is about to happen and this kept me reading. Even these moments are written so that they pass by very quickly, never allowing the pace to drop.

I do believe that one of the things that helped make "Hater" so gripping is that I could identify completely with the main character. Danny McCoyne is a very average man, possibly with more children than some of us, but with a life most of us can identify with, at least in part. In my case, this was because I've actually a very similar job to his, so that struck a chord with me. He's not the kind of person who will suddenly change into a hero, being concerned with his family, hating his job and having much the same reactions to seeing events as many of us would; fear, confusion and disgust. I can't remember the last time I opened a book and saw someone who was so similar to me and that certainly helped drag me in.

Essentially, "Hater" is a slice of life where some strange things were happening. Being told by someone who is perfectly average helps, as the narrator then becomes any one of us. Because we're hearing McCoyne's voice, it's a story that's told simply and with a minimum of fuss. He doesn't know why things are happening and doesn't waste time with events except where they relate to him, either what's happened to him or what he's seen either in the street or on the news. This also helps make the story very readable, as it's simply written as well as fast paced. Even when Danny starts to be affected, he tells his story in the same way and it was a great insight into the emotional changes that he went through and how his view on life changed. Sadly, with McCoyne not being a psychologist, he didn't go as deeply into things as I might have liked, but it was still a different enough viewpoint on something like this to be fascinating.

The one disappointment I did find with the book was the ending, which didn't feel to be in keeping with the rest of the story. Admittedly, it was still told in the same fast-paced yet simple manner, but events took a turn for the less believable towards the end. It's as if Moody was looking for a big Hollywood ending to see if he could sell the film rights, although I understand the book was originally self-published, so I may well be wrong in this supposition. As it happens, the film rights have now been sold, but that ending did spoil things slightly for me and despite having enjoyed the book, I did finish it feeling slightly unsatisfied.

That alone doesn't make this a bad book by any means, however. It's a very enjoyable read, especially for someone who is a fan of "28 Days Later" or similar films. It's not something you'd want to read over again but, as I discovered, it's a wonderfully distracting way to spend a long train journey. The basic idea wasn't particularly new, but the viewpoint was different enough for it to be well worth a look.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of,,, and
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on 9 September 2011
This is my first David Moody novel, and from the very first page I fell in love with his writing style. His acute observations of the everyday tedium of getting up, going to work in a place that lacks any stimulation - something that many can relate to - was written in such a realistic way that it added to the realism of the story.

The build up to the attacks was handled very well, feeding us detailed accounts of some of the attacks as the violence escalates across the country, whilst the frequency and viciousness of incidents increase and the realisation of what is happening across the country finally hits home. Terrifying stuff at times - especially when reading it on a packed commuter train!

Anyone with a family will relate to the utter helplessness of Danny as he tries to protect his family whilst at the same time never really knowing who should be protecting who, and from whom. It really was edge of the seat stuff - a real page turner in every sense of the word. Then about three quarters of the way through it all goes a bit wibbly (is that even a word?).

MILD SPOILERS STARTS: Danny's capture was for me too drawn out - his fears of what might happen to him were driven home quite early on and I was felt this section had been padded out too much. And then the ending. Well, not an ending as such, as it's the first part of a trilogy (Dog Blood being the next instalment). I think it would have potentially worked better had it been a standalone piece of work and I must admit to feeling a bit cheated when I discovered it was `to be continued', especially as up until this point it had been so promising. Maybe the subsequent books will build substantially enough on the rather weak answer to why the attacks happened (the route Mr Moody chose was one that many could have guessed at, and was a bit of a letdown) MILD SPOILER ENDS.

I've given the book four stars, and had it not been for the points above, would easily have got 5 stars. I don't want to appear harsh though - David Moody is one of the most exciting writers I've come across in quite a while and I will certainly be checking out more of his work.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2012
Who is near you right now? A stranger? Your partner? Your child? Your mother? Imagine that at any moment they could suddenly attack you in a fit of violence, for no visible reason. No warning, no explanation, just a murderous attack from anyone at any time. The Haters are all around, you have no idea who they are until they attack. Neither do they.

It could be anyone. Complete strangers, those closest to you, your taxi driver, your doctor, the nun you pass on the street.

It could be you.

David Moody's Hater is an tour-de-force of fear and paranoia with some social commentary thrown in for good measure. The protagonist is about as far from the cliché'd hero as you can get - a distinctly average man who is miserable in his marriage, fed up with his kids, and can barely afford to stay afloat. Mr. Moody portrays the modern life brilliantly, the unfulfilling ritual daily grind of our protagonist with the rise of the Haters playing out in the background of their lives slowly getting harder to ignore.

Give Hater a read and see for yourself, my description cannot do it justice. The end of the book leaves you thirsty to know what happens next, so much so that I would recommend buying the second book (and possibly the third!) when you buy Hater, just to save yourself time! Have you ordered it yet? No? Why not!?
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VINE VOICEon 30 June 2010
First of, I read this book in an afternoon. This goes to (a) it's brevity; (b) it's extreme readability and (c) the fact the Paraguay-Japan game was really, really bad.

Moody describes an ordinary, mundane world where some people start acting with huge levels of aggression for no apparent reason. His ordinary, mundane first person narrator seems to stand aloof from the spiralling chaos as work, normal life, law and order break down. In his struggles with work and little kids and in-laws, he brings to mind the Hugh Dennis character in 'Outnumbered.'

But the twist - when it comes - changes the whole meticulously created universe. It is brutal, shocking and highly effective. I actually read the chapter where it happened twice because I could not believe what was happening. Bravo, Mr Moody; that's impressive.

The problem - and the reason I only give three stars - is that after the 'twist,' I'm not sure where my loyalties should lie and - being a simple soul - that confuses me. The book stops when it's getting really interesting and - fair play - it's getting REALLY interesting, which is annoying, but - commercially - savagely effective. I want to read the next one in the series 'cos I really want to know what's going on; what happens now.

Mr Moody's publisher must love him.

Heck, I'm changing this to four stars.
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on 13 January 2013
I don't intend to give away any spoilers to this masterpiece of under-stated & pervasive horror. It grips you hard from page one but then releases a bit & you are allowed to experience the madness developing.

From a humdrum British viewpoint, the reader will witness savage, unexplained murders. No one knows the reason but things just go from bad to worse.

Which crisp dialogue, razor-sharp observations & short, punchy chapters - this is the kind of book that keeps you up into the late hours...

Thoroughly recommended.
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First published back in July of 2006, British horror author David Moody's novel `Hater' formed the first part in the ultra-violent `Hater' trilogy.

DLS Synopsis:
Thirty-seven year old Danny McCoyne hates his job along with the vast majority of his depressingly routine life. At work he processes parking ticket payments for the undoubtedly angry general public. And at home, in his small council flat, he lives with his increasingly bitter wife and three financially-draining kids. Life has not been particularly good to Danny so far.

But unbeknown to Danny, all of this is about to change for him when he witnesses an elderly woman randomly attacked by another passerby in broad daylight. The violent attacker is eventually restrained by the general public, but only after lashing out at everyone in an unbelievably frenzied rage.

After dropping the story of the strange attack he witnessed into conversation at work, Danny begins to realise that talk of similarly irrational acts of gross violence are cropping up all around the country. However, putting thoughts of the sudden violent outbursts to one side and after having saved enough hard-earned money to be able to take his wife to a concert, that night Danny and the rest of the audience is subjected to another such brutal escapade, when one of the band members is bludgeoned to death by one of his group members.

At home, Danny begins to watch as the bizarre epidemic begins to unfold around them. The news has picked up on the sudden unexplained outbursts of irrational violence, dubbing those responsible the `Haters'. These usually placid and everyday members of society could be your friends, co-workers or close family members. But for no apparent reason, with no provocation or warning, these people you know and trust, could suddenly turn. And when they do, the violence is brutal.

Becoming increasingly concerned at the madness that has gripped the country, Danny shuts him and his family up in their flat, following advice from the television broadcasts. Public paranoia at the escalating acts of violence caused by these Haters is becoming a further problem. No one trusts anyone else anymore. People are lashing out at the slightest provocation, out of pure fear. The streets have become a battleground.

After putting together a `safe room' as advised by the government broadcasts, McCoyne now only ventures out from their home to retrieve his ungrateful father-in-law and to collect together grocery supplies for him and his family. But out on the streets the violence has got too extreme. The government can no longer cope with the sheer scale of the epidemic. And Danny is suddenly beginning to see how the irrational hate can build in absolutely anyone...

DLS Review:
David Moody's `Hater' is an ultra-violent adrenaline pumping monster, spewing out an intense and escalating epidemic that is quite literally ripping civilisation apart. Written predominantly in the first-person-perspective of our principal protagonist, Danny McCoyne, in a similar fashion to his earlier `Autumn' (2002) novels, Moody really draws upon the emotional turmoil of the characters, spending more time detailing the very-human response to the violent epidemic, than throwing down endless scenes of carnage and manic bloodshed.

`Hater' is a novel that gets you by the throat and batters your sense of justice until it's nothing more than a mildly irrelevant concept lingering somewhere at the back of your mind. Beaten into submission, Moody then begins upon an interesting trek into the human psyche, our interaction with fear and self-preservation, and ultimately when the barriers are ripped down and basic trust is lost, how it's so easy for us to flick a switch and just begin lashing out ourselves.

Like the very best of the zombie movies and novels, `Hater' is an intelligent social criticism brought to the table in a powerful and brutal way. The violence is simply the catalyst to the emotional battleground.

Very much in the same vein as the likes of Richard Laymon's `One Rainy Night' (1991), Simon Clark's `Blood Crazy' (1995), James Herbert's `The Fog' (1975), Jim Stalin & Daina Graziunas' `Among Madmen' (1990) or Danny Boyle's `28 Days Later' (2002); `Hater' is a rampant twisting of society, thrown into a downward spiral of violence and overwhelming fear. It's hate or be hated. Attack or be attacked. Kill or be killed.

Moody purposefully opens up the whole `antagonist' front by laying down a number of short chapters from behind the eyes of a number of actual haters when they first begin to turn. In doing so, Moody rips open the whole notion of `they are the bad ones' and instead allows a sympathetic viewpoint to form from the other side of the fence. This is striking in its creative maturity and intelligent role manipulation. It becomes hard for the reader to feel comfortable for even one second. They're dragged into the chaos, seeing how it's just fear for one's own self-preservation that is at the heart of the violent madness. These aren't psychopathic killer's hell bent on murder; these are normal people, who suddenly (for no known reason so far) are flooded with an overwhelming feeling of fear for the lives. A deep-rooted hatred grips them, making them believe that it's either kill or be killed. Simple as that.

The psychological complexities that Moody jostles with add a thought-provoking fuel to the fire of this utterly compelling read. The storyline is intense from start to finish. And what a finale Moody has in store for the reader in just this first instalment into the trilogy. You won't see it coming. The scale and sudden shift in the direction of Moody's storyline is breath-taking. It's a fight to put the book down. And having been left hanging on an almighty cliff-hanger, it was agonisingly hard to wait the four years until the eventual release of `Dog Blood' (2010) to see where Moody was going to take us next.

This is a powerfully emotive read, shouted through a blooded mouth full of broken teeth. It brings to the surface thoughts on governmental responses and the fear-mongering of the ravenous media, without completely shoving it down our necks and forgoing its background-tone. It exposes the battling emotions under the calm exterior of our mundane lives, taking a very identifiable and everyday individual (in Danny McCoyne), and transposing him into an oppressive new environment of constant chaos and absolute fear.

Let the war begin...

The novel runs for a total of 235 pages.
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