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Purged (Matt Hunter 1) Paperback – 20 Jul 2017
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'A book that is nigh impossible to put down and will leave the reader hooked from start to finish ... Let's welcome Matt Hunter to the world of macabre crime fiction. He's a damaged, complicated and interesting man, and we're looking forward to spending more time with him.' Starburst Magazine
'Like James Herbert at his best ... I haven't been this creeped out by a novel since Let The Right One In and whilst Purged isn't a standard 'horror' it is packed with disturbing themes that will linger in your mind ... Purged is the first in a new macabre crime fiction series, dark and intense, creepy and quirky.' Dark Matters
'Compelling reading ... Law manages to conjure up menace from ostensibly benign surroundings. He also spins the tale cleverly so that we are persuaded to look in completely the wrong direction for the culprit, and he keeps us blind-sided until the last few pages of the book.' Fully Booked
'Stole a day of my life and possibly a little of my soul. Definitely my sleep. ... The writing is smart, funny, dark as sin (yes I did that) and incredibly immersive. The plotting is pacy yet considered, the characters live and breathe on the page and the story itself is scary good. No I mean actually scary. And good.' Liz Loves Books
'Dark, fast moving, psychologically thoughtful gem. ... A whole new take on the 'troubled cop' genre mixing dark, light and more dark into a riveting gripper. Peter Laws is a real find.' Sunday Sport
'An engaging debut' Daily Mail
'A devilishly cunning and creepily macabre murder mystery.' Peterborough Evening Telegraph --.
About the Author
Peter Laws is an ordained Baptist minister with a taste for the macabre. He writes a monthly column in The Fortean Times and also hosts the popular podcast and YouTube show The Flicks That Church Forgot which reviews thriller and horror films from a theological perspective. He regularly speaks and preaches at churches and events. He lives with his family in Bedfordshire.
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The main character is Matt Hunter , formerly a minister who has lost his own faith and is now a professor of sociology. He’s writing a book that debunks the Christian faith while assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes. On holiday with his family in Oxfordshire, Matt is on edge in a seemingly idyllic village where wooden crosses hang at every turn. The stay becomes more sinister still when a local girl goes missing, followed by further disappearances. Caught up in an investigation that brings memories to the surface that he would prefer to keep buried deep, Matt is on the trail of killer determined to save us all.
Matt Hunter is a very interesting character. He trained as a minister, initially choosing to dedicate his life to God and his beliefs. Only for those beliefs to vanish. Now a professor of sociology and slogging his guts out on a book which won't write itself, he heads with his family to a quaint Oxfordshire village for a break. The destination isn't chosen at random though and whilst there Matt's wife, Wren (an architect), is to come up with plans to renovate the Hobbs Hill church. What the couple don't realise initially is exactly how important the church is to the Hobbs Hill locals. Arriving at their picturesque cottage they notice a number of wooden crosses dotted about the place. The biggest surprise is yet to come though in the form of local Pastor, Chris Kelly. A face Matt recognises all too well. When local women start to disappear Matt unwittingly becomes involved in the investigation. Will he be able to work out what's happening to the women before the killer strikes too close to home...?
This is a wonderful slow-burn of a novel that I kept wanting to return to. It opens with a terrifying scene that sets the tone for the book from start to finish. The reader discovers that Matt has experienced horrors in his own past and these are skillfully drip-fed to the reader as the book progresses, making sure you keep turning those pages. As much as I loved Matt I felt the total opposite about Pastor Chris, who came across as self-absorbed, frustratingly ignorant and quite creepy. The other thing I absolutely loved was the small, isolated (slightly creepy) community feel of the setting. The fact that the fictional village is set in Oxfordshire just added to the enjoyment for me.
Would I recommend this book? I would and I will be making a point of downloading the second and third books in the series as well. I need me more Matt! The author's love of the horror genre shines through and although I would label Purged as a crime thriller it does have a nod or two to the horror genre as well. You can't go wrong with a horror-esque crime thriller in my book! As debuts go, it's a cracker of a book. A well-written, creepy page-turner that I heartily recommend. Thanks Liz for putting Purged on my radar!
This book really gave me the creeps and I found the subject an interesting premise for a crime fiction novel. Told in third person from different points of view the reader is given a chilling glimpse into the mind of a cold-blooded killer that has completely lost touch with reality. Some of the murder scenes were quite gruesome, so not for the faint hearted, but also quite emotional. The victims seemed so blissfully unaware it almost hurt.
The plot had been planned carefully however was predictable in parts. The reader is given an eclectic group of quirky characters, never knowing exactly who to trust and who to be suspicious of. The author set the scene well, and at parts I could almost imagine being alongside them in this rural twilight zone.
If you are looking for a cheap version of The Da Vinci Code then this book is not for you. There are no ancient religious secrets waiting to be exposed, this a contemporary crime fiction novel where the lead investigator is not some burned out cop, but a family man with a highly interesting back story. Peter Laws has laid solid groundwork for a great, unique new series, and I can’t wait to read the next chapter in the Matt Hunter story. Thanks to the Peter Laws and The Bookbag for my advanced reader copy.
Matt Hunter is an engaging and believable character, flawed without being trite - something many authors fail to do.
In parts the story made me laugh out loud (a rarity), there were glimpses of familiarity - I can't believe I'm the only person who thinks they recognise the noodle bar on Oxford St.
I kept reading as the story draws you in and makes you want to follow so you find out what happens next.
I want to get the next book now, and will be looking out for the third when it is released. I'm hoping Pete has many more stories to tell, as I've been entertained by Purged.