The Charter (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought : I picked this up on a hunch after reading glowing praise about the book on Goodreads and I'm really glad I took a chance on it. There is some wonderful writing here that took me right back to my teenage horror phase when King, Herbert, Koontz and Hutson were all I would read. But there’s another edge here, that borders on black comedy, and a style of writing that puts me in mind of an early Cormac McCarthy.
A great hook at the start of the story with wonderful descriptions of a car crash that had catastrophic impact on the lives of every single person involved. Thomas Ford is an excellent lead character but equally the mad McCallum family and the devious Lorna play a big part in bringing this gruesome tale to life. I thought the dialogue was excellent throughout , the characters and their motivations real, and the action scenes were vivid and shocking and everything you could ask from this genre.
Negatives? And I’m being critical. Maybe pacing at some points dropped off for me. Some areas I felt were over padded and more than once I found myself skimming flashbacks and tangents about cats and cars to get back to the story and the action. It's a fine line and for me a lot of the tension in the climax scenes was lost due to extraneous detail.
But this is a cut above a lot of writers of this genre, and I’m amazed the author hasn’t bagged himself a traditional publishing deal, there is much to commend here and I enjoyed the journey into this dark world.
You’ll enjoy this if you like : Shaun Hutson, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King
Avoid if you don’t like : Dark themes and gore.
Ideal accompaniments : Vodka sours and Irish Stew.
Genre : Horror