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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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If there's one thing that Shaun always does well its pick a role that not only fits well within the situation to which they'll find themselves but also find a way to twist the readers perspectives allowing them to see the heroism of the common man depicted in its greater glory. Here the character is a teacher who after suffering emotional and physical trauma seeks to find a new life. Having talked to his ex-wife he is persuaded to find a new position away from the place where the attack took place and manages to get a teaching placement at a private school that comes with the added bonus of a new home.

Whilst looking round the cottage he finds disturbing images of his predecessor which leads him into an investigation, during which his colleagues are all closed lipped about the events. Help comes in the form of the female member of staff with the relationship developing as events unfold. Things in the classroom aren't going as well, as he finds that there is a small click amongst his pupils that know more about him than he's revealed which leads to paranoia that escalates after his love interest ends up missing.

The book itself is unfortunately tedious with very little happening as if the author had a good idea for a novella that had to be stretched to accommodate a novel brief. Add to the mix Shaun's almost superstitious usage of certain words within the text and it does leave you wondering if he's had his day. However, what really got to me was that after so many carefully created plots that he turns out a novel that felt too much a cross of the "Wicker Man" and "Class of 1984" which sadly had none of the originality of either. For me Shaun really has lost it and I only hope that at some point he'll take a long hard look at what he's been releasing and asks the fans what they want rather than relying on his name to sell an inferior product.
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on 5 April 2012
I've been a Shaun Hutson fan for a very long time and must have read the great majority of his books. They have invariably been a great read and have always left me looking forward to the next one.
But not this time.
We have the multiplicity of plot lines, all moving forward to join up in the customary explosive finish. But they moved forward so slowly as to be pretty tedious at times.
Also, for some reason Shaun includes several very explicit sexual scenes which really are gratuitous and not required in such detail. Does the author really believe that his army of loyal readers buy his books for gratuitous sex?
Whilst this is an OK read, I did find myself rushing pages towards the end..I was really quite glad when I finally completed it.
This is not vintage Shaun Hutson by any means and if you're planning to buy it as your first taste of this author, you probably wouldn't choose to buy any more.
But you're an avid Red, Shaun, as I am, so you're excused this, for you, slightly lacklustre story! I'll still be ready for the next book. In the meantime, lets all hope that Kenny has the good sense to ditch Carroll, Henderson, Downing and Adam at the end of the season.
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on 2 July 2014
Good. 5 star- ish but I'll give it 4.5. Couldn't wait to get back into it. Fast paced, colourful, Hutson classic material. Not as mind-blowingly good as his original Shadows, Erebus, Deathday and Breeding Ground (my all time Hutson favs) but up there, certainly a notch above some of his other later stuff. V good and satisfying read.
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on 6 May 2012
Quite the page-turner, as fans of Hutson have come to expect. Everything's present and accounted for: the short chapters, the cliffhanger endings, plenty of dialogue, lots of twists and turns and just enough character definition to keep you invested in the story.

This one's an old-school Satanic Panic novel. Think Wickerman meets Kill List and you're on the right road.

I really enjoyed it.
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on 3 June 2011
After been badly beaten by a gang of youths, schoolteacher, Peter Mason decides to accept an offer to teach in a posh, private school in a small town in Buckinghamshire. However, there are strange things happening in the town, and Mason discovers that his predecessor in the school has left without a trace.

This story is quite a good read, although it is a bit on the short side. There is quite a bit of suspense, but only a few really creepy moments. I felt the ending was a bit rushed too. Overall, though not too bad.
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on 24 February 2012
I used to love earlier Shaun Hutson books but sadly found this one to be pretty dull with very few shocks. I thought i would never say this but unless he goes back to his winning formulas' of yesteryear then this is the last time I will buy a Hutson book.

Please go back to in your face horror or fast paced action with rock hard main characters, not a wishy washy teacher with about as much get up and go as a wet fart.
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on 16 February 2010
Most of the time I see Shaun Hutson as comfort reading, especially when I'm in the mood for a gruesome horror. And by comfort reading I mean knowing the author you're reading, like slipping on an old pair of slippers. I know how Hutson writes, I know what to expect and I know that I will be pulled into the story from the get go.

Last Rites didn't disappoint regarding these aspects. In fact, the first chapter jumped in with both feet when we are introduced to the main character, Peter Mason, who is being beaten to near death by a gang of youths. It's brutal, violent and full of swearing. It's not for the faint hearted. But I'm used to Hutson and this is the 'norm' and most of the time it doesn't bother me.

I like Hutson's writing. It's not the most beautiful prose you will ever read but it has a realness about it that sucks me into the character's lives, they become real. They always have a lot of baggage, history and depth. They are well rounded. That's another thing I enjoy about his books, he makes his characters totally believable.

However, although Last Rites succeeded on many levels, unfortunately it also failed. In the beginning, getting to know the characters and their back story was interesting, especially with Peter Mason. I enjoyed that with each chapter it focused on a different character. Unfortunately this went on for far too long and you didn't actually get to the meat of the story until at least two thirds of the way in. Then everything was rushed, which made the actions of Mason less believable and before I knew it, it was the end of the book.

Verdict:

There were a couple of surprises at the end I didn't see coming, which prevented the book from being a 4/10. But to be honest this wasn't really Hutson's best work so it ended up being a 5 (view rating system on my blog).
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on 5 March 2010
I own almost all of Shaun Hutson's books and I have to say this is one of his weeker efforts. For me this is not a patch on his books featuring Sean Doyle; Renegades, White Ghost and to a lesser extent Hybrid (I would love to see Doyle's return. I put this book in the quality of Heathen which again I found dissapointing. Hutson is at his best when he's mixing gritty urban thriller writing with the horror story. This book was too tame for my liking. Sorry Shaun!
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on 16 October 2010
As an avid reader of Shaun Hutson books, i was a little disappointed with Last Rites. I love Shaun's writing style and this book is no exception- However, Last Rites seems to start slow and before you know what's going on you've finished the book. As a fan of Shaun Hutson for a number of years this book is just not on the same level as his previous works such as Nemesis, Renegades and Lucy's Child. However, that's just my opinion and I still believe he is one of the top horror writers in the UK.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2012
Shaun Hutson certainly doesn't hang around with his novels. It's the story, horror and violence that seems to matter, so he dispenses with much in the way of characterisation. plot and atmosphere, and presumably just gives readers what they want.

This one certainly rattles along pacily enough, and tells the story of a disillusioned school teacher, who, recovering from a violent beating at the hands of some inner city pupils, decides to leave London and head for quieter teaching pastures. Needless to say things don't go quite according to plan, with Mason leaving one set of horrors rapidly to find himself embroiled in others.

It's all unlikely stuff, with various paper-thin characters being dispatched in any number of violent ways before the various strands of the book are brought together in a gory conclusion. There's no denying that for the genre he works in, Hutson knows how to write, and how to keep readers hooked and coming back for more. Modern pulp horror really, but actually much, much better than the overblown tripe served up by James Herbert.
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