I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Creeper by A.M. Shine
Published by Head of Zeus Ltd on September 15, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Horror, World Literature, Ireland, General, Travel, Europe
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The Creeper is a masterful tale of horror and suspense from one of Ireland's most talented emerging authors.
Superstitions only survive if people believe in them...
Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive.
The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown.
It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer...
That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away...
Reviewers on A.M. Shine:
'A dark, claustrophobic read.' T. Kingfisher 'Readers get an intimate glimpse into the fraying edges of each character's psyches... Will appeal to fans of Kealan Patrick Burke, Josh Malerman, and Scott Smith.' A.E. Siraki, Booklist 'An ideal read for the Halloween season, or any time you want some spookiness in your life!' Beauty and Lace
The Creeper scared the living crap out of me. A.M. Shine pulls out all the stops to make you realise that the dark is where evil lies, and where evil lies death will surely follow. His pure storytelling isn’t easily matched.
The Creeper is one of the most phenomenal horror stories I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. I’m not going to lie I’ve sat on this review for four days – how would I find the words to do it justice? How could I describe the plot which had me gripping my kindle with a force that could rival the hulks? Nothing will be enough to highlight the story’s vice grip on me. The Creeper was truly original and the feelings it emitted from me will no doubt do the same to you.
I’m a big fan of A.M. Shine’s work – it’s stunningly dark. The Watchers, his debut opened the door to the atmosphere of Ireland’s desolated forests and hugely flawed characters that leave you feeling conflicted. The Creeper promised all that more, he delivered with a keen sense of fear and foreboding. I could sum it up in a few words – the story burns with the intensity of a flame. It’s an experience that leaves you needing to fall into this world but also fearful of your fate. One touch will leave you howling in the foetal position.
Ben is aching to find a job that will pay him what he’s worth. Since completing his master’s in history a few years ago he hasn’t been able to find employment in his specialism. It’s soul-destroying and he’s had enough of working in retail. His parents have more faith in him than he does. His daughter is the only thing he lives and breathes for, was he scared when the woman he had a one-night stand with told him she was pregnant? You bloody bet, but he loves her beyond measure.
When Dr. Sparling headhunts both Ben and Chloe for a special research project with a generous payout for their time, Ben nearly takes his hand off in accepting. It’s too good an offer to refuse and it will hopefully mean he can kiss retail goodbye. They’re both asked just one question – “Do you have children?” it seems odd, but Ben says no. The relevance is like a red-hot poker, it’s searing.
They are sent on their way; expenses are taken care of, and they’ve been warned that they might need to camp. Chloe is a bit of an expert so she buys the best tent they can, and they make their way to Tir Mallacht a community that is stuck in time, with maps and directions that seem sketchy at best. What appeared to be an easy task, to begin with now has the feeling of treading through the mud. The community is very insular, they are living 200 years in the past and refuse to give information freely. Only one little girl gives them a look into the darkness – A creeper that will be seen 3 times, the last resulting in your death. Can Chloe and Ben escape the superstition of the Tir Mallacht’s?
Shine dives deep into the psyche of the human condition – Dr. Spalding uses greed and the lure of money to fulfil his task. When I finished the story, I felt uneasy, I like to be moved by a story, I want them to be real, I enjoy the fear and this book certainly managed to scratch that itch. The atmospheric and claustrophobic narrative of The Creeper left me gazing into space. There’s no way you’re starting this book and walking away, it’s a read-to-the-end type read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A. M. Shine is an author of Literary Horror from the west of Ireland. It was there that at a young age he discovered a passion for classic horror stories, and where he received his Masters in history, before ultimately sharpening his quill to pursue a life devoted to all things literary and macabre. His writing is inspired by the trinity of horror, history, and superstition, and he has tormented, toyed with, and tortured more characters than he will ever confess to.
Owing to a fascination with the works of Edgar Allan Poe and his ilk, A. M. Shine’s earlier writings were Gothic in their style and imagination. When his focus turned to novels he refined his craft as an author of Irish horror – stories influenced by his country’s culture, landscape, and language, but which draw their dark atmosphere and eloquence from the Gothic canon of his past.
He is represented by John Baker of Bell Lomax Moreton Literary Agency.