Epitaph Hardcover – 7 Oct 2010
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Interesting and challenging (IMPACT)
A gripping blend of thriller and horror from the Master of the Dark.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Epitaph is still very clearly the work of the same writer I remember from my days of feasting on Literary Horror's 1980's excesses. It's stark, grim and very fast paced. In fact this story of grief, despair and retribution is really easy to read. Not comfortable to read, or even necessarily entertaining, but the chapters are short, and the writing to the point. As I remembered, there's nothing verbose about Hutson's writing style, that's for sure.
The first character we are introduced to - in what we soon learn is a past narrative - is Laura Hackett, an 8 year old school girl, who we know is going to die, because of the jacket blurb. Then we meet a chap called Paul Crane, just as he's been informed he's lost his job in an advertising agency. Finally we are introduced to the parents of Laura Hackett, Frank and Gina, and we are quickly made aware that Gina is cheating on her hardworking, but poorly paid husband. These four characters, basically make up the whole cast. For part of the book, I was left wondering what connected the Hacketts to Paul. Then when Paul wakes up - after a night of drinking away his woes - trapped in a coffin, and we learn that Gina and Frank Hackett have placed him there, thinking he murdered their daughter, I began to get a sense of where it was going.
The story that unfolds is really depressing. It deals with a very unpleasant subject matter, namely, child abuse, and the desire for revenge from a family torn apart by devestating loss. Paul's story is also depressing. What depressed me more, however, is that it uses its themes in a way that I found almost voyeuristic. That is to say, there is a sense of entertainment being derived from the fact that the lives of each of the characters is truly screwed up. The book feeds off human misery, and revels in it. What it doesn't do is offer any insight or humanity in the face of darkness. It's just entertainment based on misery, despair and human failing. I'm not suggesting it should have some uplifting Disney ending, but some discernible meaning behind the narrative other than, life is really terrible and people do messed up things, might have made for a more substantive tale. Without giving anything away, the ending didn't really conclude in a way I found entirely satisfying either.
Despite these gripes, I read this really quickly, and I was hooked for part of it. So I cannot say it's a terrible book. It's rather like a Torture Porn Horror Film. As you watch it, you're gripped by the desire to see if anyone escapes. Knowing it unlikely, you wonder what horror the next victim will suffer. You know the story doesn't really have much substance. You know there are better films you could choose to watch. At the end you leave feeling a little bit grubbier for the experience, but when the next one comes around, there's a chance you'll go through it all again.
Unfortunately the initial spark began to flicker and before the book reached a climax the flame was extinguished and I was left to merely turn pages to reach a conclusion that I had long ago guessed at.
If you haven't read Shaun before it is not a bad read and should whet your appetite for his older much better books. Compared to his earlier books such as Assassin this book would come in as PG
Overall, it is OK, it is readable but personally I'd recommend picking this up as a paperback as you will save a few quid.
Without revealing the plot to any potential readers I found the level of details describing some incidents as nothing more than SICK and made me question what goes through an author's head when they write this.
Will probably never read a book of his again and I can see why his popularity has diminished over the years now.
Horror books for me are to entertain and shock you but this has just left me shocked and bewildered that this even got published.
I'm surprised the other reviews of this book are not of the same nature as mine and I would gladly give this negative stars if I could......................
Every year (until 2010) I would eagerly anticipate the August/September release of his one and only new book every year. In 2010, for the first year ever, I didn't buy on the release date. I chose to buy from Apple's BookStore in e-format, so I could read it on my iPad.
Sadly, my fears were confirmed - disappointing to say the least, very strung-out story, as another reviewer said, "should have been a short story, not a full novel".
I have to say, for the first time ever, the only SH novel that I could quite easily put down before reaching the end.
Don't know how much he got paid for it, but wish my 10.99 had stayed in my pocket.
Let's hope 2011's effort will be back to his old winning style....
It is far too drawn out and slow, and the ending seems pointless after having waded through the whole book.
It's not that the idea is poor, or even the characters, I just don't think there is enough of a story to make it worthwhile.
Incidentally, the treatment of the identity of the actual killer seems a major loose end, as if the writer forgot about it?
The writer may be trying to change style, or has a very different editor?
Not a success.
Most recent customer reviews
I like Hutson's style of keeping you hooked with short chapters and this did serve to speed...Read more