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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 September 2014
I enjoyed this one. From the very beginning, reading the prologue, I thought "Right then, chaps. Here we ruddy well go! Let's 'ave it!" and sat up with anticipation. I read the first few chapters and then hit the hay, but with great enthusiasm. I went to my mate's house for the weekend (without my book) and every now and then found myself thinking "Corr, I wonder what'll happen next?" then when I got back, I read the rest in one go because I just *had to know, dammit!*

I'm not going to post any spoilers here (because that ain't my bag, unless the book is terrible (but I always give fair warning when I do)), but there were a couple of bits I could've done without. The one thing that *really* got on my nerves was the lead character, whom I really liked to begin with. Without giving anything away, he comes across some proper moody, supernatural s*** where the impossible becomes possible and nightmares become reality and the supernatural becomes natural. He witnesses this all first-hand. Then later, he gets told somewhat of a conclusion, and dribbles on about "How it's not possible!" (like Scully in 'X-Files'. Remember how she sees all those Aliens, Zombies, Mud Monsters, Smoke Men, but still feels the need to question Mulder on EVERYTHING?? It's a bit like that).

Still, without taking that into account *too* much, this is definitely a page turner. The thing I love most about Adam Nevill's work is his attention to detail. He puts a lot of research and location/history building into his stuff and should definitely be recognised for it. And the Old Friends are just fantastic.

A lot of people are complaining about the ending (which, yeah...may have been a *little* too mad for my taste and expectations), but what you need to understand is this; for example: I loved 'The Ritual' but hated the ending. After reading this (which has references to 'The Ritual' (and don't worry, he's written it in a way so there's no spoilers, in case you're yet to read it, so you'll only spot them if you've actually read it) which made me think "Oh wow, what a cool conclusion!". So who knows, maybe we'll get answers in the next one (God, I hope I'm not wrong and jumping the gun on that).

Anyway, really good book, and great value for money. I recommend this author.
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on 18 May 2016
As part of my ongoing, continuing mission to read all of Adam Nevill's novels in published order, I come to last Days, which was the novel I believe I first started to really hear amazing things about this writer. I was always aware of him, having bought all of his books as they came out, yet had never managed to start one (don't ask me why, my reading habits are arbitrary and sporadic at best). Yet having read three of his books prior to this, and enjoying each one very much (with The Ritual being both a particular favourite and, I feel, a huge leap forward in an already talented writer's abilities and vision), and with the aforementioned growing praise, I was very much anticipating this particular work.

The plot is, on the surface, pretty basic; an independent film-maker (comprising only of himself, a cameraman and a 'studio'-bound editor) is asked by a film company to create an historical documentary concerning a notorious cult form the 70s. Part of the contract involves visiting specific and relevant locales around the globe, and also a large payment/advance. Being financially in the red, the young film-maker - Kyle - agrees, while at the back of his mind is the suspicion that it's all too good to be true. Well, it *is* a horror novel, after all...

Like The Ritual, Last Days begins without much of a preamble, dropping you right into the thick of the story almost immediately (there is a short prologue which presages and foreshadows the horrific, supernatural events to come, but I felt the book would have worked just as well without this) with Kyle being offered the commission and given a slight history of The Temple Of The Last Days and Sister Katherine, the leader of the infamous cult. In fact, though the first chapter is essentially expositional in nature, it's very skilfully woven into an interview/job description scene, and the information on offer is both essential to the story (for various reasons) and deeply interesting. It also sets the tone for much of the book for almost 50% of the story is delivered through interviews and reminiscences; it is, after all, an attempt to write a novel which is, essentially, 'found footage' in style. Yet for me, these passages never feel like information overload, or, indeed, as though they are taking away from the 'action' of the story (in fact, despite its large size, I found the book immensely readable). Personally, many of these passages offered the most chills and evocation of true horror; there's something to be said for an authentic, second-hand telling that can surpass a conventionally told story. There's a passage early on in The Ritual where a character is describing something he has seen in the forest, and this was one of the most terrifying parts of that book for me. I think Adam manages to really tap into a deep and convincing sense of character in order to make this style work. Which is just as well, as Last Days has a lot of second-hand relating of events.

Yet, as with the leap between Apartment 16 and The Ritual, I feel Adam has, yet again, made a jump both with his style and with his ambition. Though the surface story might feel a little ho-hum - evil cults, rumoured devil worship, murders and ghosts - both the execution and the way the story unfolds are anything but conventional. I put this down to a couple of things; firstly, his prose is, aside from the odd sentence or two, crisp, sharp and to the point. Adam seems to have eschewed long, flowery descriptions in favour of to the point writing. That's not to say the words are dull and pedestrian; it's merely that he has clearly looked at what is extraneous to the story and has only retained or written that which is absolutely necessary for each passage, each scene. Secondly, he writes with an absolute earnest conviction that, for me, refuses to be disbelieved. The characters - while potentially irritating, I don't know, I don't give a fig about needing to 'like' a character in order to enjoy a well-written story - are solid, three-dimensional, follow logical lines of reasoning within the context of events, and react with convincing and increasing levels of fear and dislocation as they go deeper into the cult of Last Days. I also felt the themes that were bubbling under - or coming to the fore in a few instances - helped to heighten the narrative. Adam isn't simply writing about vile occurrences for the sake of it; he is not merely attempting to give us a few cheap thrills to make us watch the shadows. No, with this novel, he is tapping into a wider sense of the horror of mankind. Yes there are supernatural shenanigans going on, but as the story progressed, I felt it was as much - if not more - about the worst aspects of the human race; its greed and hunger for power, for domination over others, for excess, and for bloodshed. It's something that's been on my mind for a few years and in Last Days, many of my thoughts coalesced and became clearer. For me, this is the true mark of a great horror writer (and, indeed, a great writer); the ability to tap into social consciousnesses, to be able to use your writing to examine and dissect themes and concepts that aren't necessarily a part of the main plot, to examine what it is to be human and to shine a light on our darker natures; literary horror writing, in other words.

But of course, there is still a horror story here, and there are some fantastic, chilling set pieces. In attempting to create a 'found footage film' in book form, Adam has succeeded beyond expectation. There are genuinely freaky moments where the main characters move through a darkened building with inly the light of their camera to illuminate the spaces, and the sounds and barely-glimpsed movements are as good as footage from the best examples of this kind of cinema (ironically though, I feel that the book is almost unfilmable due to the long interview sections; any movie would only be shadow of this deep work). Then there are the moments when things emerge from the walls and ceilings, twisted, skeletal forms which are given pages and pages of expert build-up before they appear, over many chapters, until your nerves are utterly shredded at the thought of them. It's a great technique, building on and connecting small details that grow as the story progresses, serving to anchor the idea of these creatures in the mind almost without you realising it; and when they finally do appear, you're already halfway terrified. I also loved the wider mythology, the cult itself, but also the forebears of it and the idea that it is merely the latest of a rippling, echoing occurrence down through the ages. In a way, there are hints of Clive Barker's old style with regards to ancient cults, tribes and the like, but in Last Days they are far less magical and more mired in bleak brutality. I also liked the slight shift in tone towards the end. I've heard some folk complain that Adam has a tendency to go off at a tangent at the end of some of his books; I can't attest if this is one of them, though it does veer - as The Ritual did in a very slight way - into more action territory than horror towards the end. But this absolutely worked for me. It still retains tension and chills, yet feels very logical within the scope of previous events. It didn't come from left-field and provides an appropriate finale to the novel.

However, as with almost every book I've read in the last ten years or so, it's not without its occasional fault. There are the inevitable typos, rare but irritating, the occasional sentence that, I felt, could have done with some restructuring (a personal thing but worth noting), and my biggest annoyance; the constant misspelling of Glock (as in pistols, and spelled in the book as Gloch). I also felt there was a lack of research with regards to the firearms; it's stated at least once that the pistol torch is fitted to the rail on top of the gun, but pistol rails (if they even have any) are on the underside simply due to the fact that the weapon's sights are located on the top. It might seem a small thing, but it did have me groaning each time. Still, it didn't really mar my enjoyment all that much, and I only mention it in the interests of highlighting the advantages of research. instead of a completely 5 star book, it's maybe a 4.8, but I've rounded that up to 5 anyway.

But regardless, it's a powerful, epic and immersive work, which definitely succeeds in its ambitions. It also marks another leap forward for Adam in his immense talent, and I'm heartily looking forward to his next works. Onwards, to The House of Small Shadows...
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on 21 March 2014
This is the second Adam Neville novel I have read and although there are some mixed reviews, I personally found this a very satisfying read. I do enjoy the genre generally but like to think I am discerning. Quality of characterisations and descriptive prose can be lacking but not in this authors case. Creatures in the walls, spectres in the shadows; cults and their cursed survivors; creepy locations and a life and death chase to end the terror that takes us to locations spread over two continents. Is it far fetched? Yes of course. Does it matter? No. It's a horror story. They are all far fetched. No such thing as ghosts, goblins, demons or monsters! It's escapism and it's success hangs on the ability of the author to draw you into his creation and keep you engaged. And if you find yourself peering a little too closely at the shadows cast by your bedside lamp and reading a little too much into the benign nighttime creakings of your humble abode, it scores 4 stars and a thank you very much, job done! If you prefer your horror to get straight to the gory bits without much scene setting etc. the style may not be to your taste and you might side with reviewers who think Neville drags in places. Not my experience at all. Read it over a weekend. Could have put it down but didn't want to!
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on 14 July 2014
Trusted author who compels one to turn the page, each book has a tale of menace and fear running throughout and brilliantly written characters u care for them,the villains of the piece are as to be expected , in this one the descriptions of the blood fiends was fab and I lived the description of how they come out of the woodwork so to speak and the shadows they leave behind,will remember them whenever I see a stain on the wall,
If I ever need a good horror I turn to this guy, Steven king is great but lately I have been disappointed and miss the days of it and Christine while this is not that it is better than the middle of the road Steven kings like rose madder ,insomnia etc, dive in
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on 14 December 2015
Adam Nevill is renowned for writing sustained horror novels. His Last Days is no exception.
When Kyle and Dan are asked by film producer Max to investigate the final days of an insidious cult, which had been led by the tyrannical Katherine, frightening evidence begins to be revealed. Layer upon layer of horror unfolds concerning the practices within the sect and as the two interview former members and locations they become subjected to by supernatural entities. In a desperate bid to end the horror they decide on a plan of action which leads to a terrifying climax.
Never have I read anything as frightening as the last ghastly chapter .
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 December 2015
For me this was another attempt to establish some sort of positive relationship with the horror genre. And for me, though very clearly not for others, the enterprise was a failure. The novel is certainly not lacking in either pace or in gruesome detail and for those susceptible to this kind of writing no doubt it is chilling enough. I find that real life has sufficient horrors and those books that ask for less of an imaginative leap and portray what happens in this world are often more disturbing. I also find the characters a good deal less than riveting, and if there is no empathy with the main characters it is difficult to care deeply about what happens to them. So each to their own, I suppose.
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on 5 April 2013
Bought this for my mate, since he was kind enough to lend me The Ritual, genuinely the most terrifying book I've ever read bar none. Widely touted as the British Stephen King, I'd have to say Adam Nevill is equally imaginative, but in terms of sheer sleep-with-the-lights-on-for-the-next-week-ness, I'd say he's more comparable to Graham Masterton.
Highly recommended to anyone who loved The Ritual, or those who enjoy starting out on an innocuous and enjoyable journey that quickly descends into knee-tremblingly, heart-stoppingly, terrifyingly inescapable conditions during which our hero witnesses mind-bending strangeness and everyone's very soul is in peril...this is for you with highly polished brass knobs on!
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on 9 June 2014
I loved this book even though it scared the hell out of me. Seriously! I was reading it on kindle with the lights off and had to switch them back on. A truly creepy but highly enjoyable book, a tale that lingers in your memory long after you have turned the final page. Read it if you dare.
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on 3 April 2013
This si the third novel of Adam nevill I ave read and he has improved with each book. Although the story is a slow burn to start with, this work to its advantage. The atmosphere created in the ealry chapters is dark and foreboding. Yes, there is some repetition in the description of the appearances of the 'friends' but it puts a chill up your spine nonetheless. The slight problem is it goes a bit 'Hollywood' in the final chapter - more action movie than horror. Having said that Mr Nevill is fast becoming a favourite of mine and I look forward to his next release.
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on 2 July 2014
Wow. Riveting, well-written, entertaining, gripping, genuinely quite disturbing- overall a big enjoyable read. I really couldn't put it down, and I don't say that too often these days. A belter. First book i've read of his too, i only hope his others are half as good.
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