Tuesday, 17 February 2009

‘Hater’ – David Moody (St. Martin’s Press)

We’ve all had days where we feel like the whole world is out to get us haven’t we? I’ll bet that you won’t have to think too hard before you remember the last time you felt like this! I felt like it yesterday at work…
And here’s the thing, most of the time we can tell ourselves that it’s sheer dumb luck (chance, fate, whatever) conspiring to throw up a whole load of random events that will come together to make a regular day stress inducing and torturous. It’s hard to get through days like this but when it’s done we can see it for what it is and hope that tomorrow is better.
What if the whole world was out to get you though? What if all the feelings that you dismiss as paranoia are actually true? What if the only way to get past this was to fight? What if that fight was to the death…?

A regional manager stabs an eighty-five year-old woman to death with his umbrella. A schoolgirl suddenly attacks and kills her best friend. A labourer bludgeons a woman to death with a lump hammer. These incidents are not isolated, they’re happening all over the country… Christened ‘Haters’ by the media, the only way to tell if someone is afflicted is when they attack you without warning. Anyone could be a Hater…
As the country goes into meltdown Danny McCoyne must make the step up from being a slacker to being a man who can protect his family from a menace that could strike from anywhere and at any time…

‘Hater’ only weighs in at a modest two hundred and eighty one pages but it could have been two (or even three) times the length and I would still have polished it off in one sitting. It was that intense and that gripping.
You can tell from the length of the book that Moody isn’t one to waste words and reading the tale itself confirms this. This isn’t a book ruled by speculation about what causes the Haters to hate (although there is a little discussion of this), it’s a book that tells its reader what’s happening right here and right now. It doesn’t shy away from getting right in your face and giving you the full bloody details either… Be warned that Moody doesn’t want to waste time taking into account the fact that his readers might have weak stomachs (I really felt for the guy who had his vasectomy interrupted!), he has a story to tell…

This approach really helps to give the reader a picture of a country slowly grinding to a halt under the weight of paranoia, fear and the possibility that the person right next to you could suddenly become a ravening psycho. The book charts the course of events over one week and this tight time scale serves to emphasise how quickly the meltdown takes place and the effect that this has on the populace.
Moody also opens each chapter with a moment where someone becomes a ‘Hater’ and sometimes it isn’t the person that you expect... This is another clever device that serves to build up the tension, you may come to expect a death in these passages but there’s usually a twist and the sheer savagery involved will leave you gasping!

The only issue I had was that I had trouble getting a sense of where the book was actually set. Everything seemed to scream ‘typical English city’, right down to the council offices and housing, but every so often references would be made to American things such as the ‘grades’ that children were in at school. This is only a small issue but did stop me getting really grounded in the story itself.

‘Hater’ is a book that strings out the tension until you can’t bear it then throws you to the ground and gives you a good kicking. When you see what happens to the people in the book you’ll be glad that a kicking is all you got...
Visceral, intense and highly recommended by me.

Nine and a Half out of Ten

P.S. I'm not quite sure of the publication date but if you're looking for a UK copy then Gollancz are the people who are publishing it.


Harrison Holtz said...

Very nice review, Glad to see that Hater lives up to the all the hype its been getting around the blogosphere.

I'm very interested to check this out for myself, although I was squirming just with the mere mention of a guy having his vasectomy interrupted. Ouch.

Calibandar said...

Interesting book. And as it happens I had a bad day at work yesterday as well. So annoyed by my colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, outstanding, very well written book!

"Hater" is the 1st book in what will be a trilogy. The next book, "Dog Blood" will be out soon according to back page's author's notes. Don't let the obscure title fool you, "Hater" is the real deal!

A word of advice, read "Hater" now, don't wait until the movie comes out or until all three books are out and everyone is talking about it and your three books behind. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

A few random people are brutally attacked by strangers. The next day, several more attacks. All random, all appear to be for no certain reason. The media declares the attacks are being committed by haters! But who is a hater, what is a hater, how can we tell them apart?

The government puts the following message on every television, every station-


The haters can tell us apart, they already know, "it's kill or be killed, hate or be hated!"

Haters are not zombies, their not vampires, read it and find out for yourself!

The book gets better & better all the way through. It's fast paced and the ending is phenomenal!

Guillermo del Toro, director of "Pan's Labyrinth", "Hellboy 1 & 2" has already purchased the rights to this novel for production of the major motion picture "Hater"!

I will definitely watch the movie and definitely read the next two novels when they come out.

Read it!