I can’t believe that we’re already at the end of October. Happy Halloween everyone! The last day of the month brings with it the last review in my Spooktober Halloween Reads series: The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich. While I’ve read some awesome books this month, I was really looking forward to this one in particular. From the blurb, I wasn’t really sure where this book was headed, but I knew it was excited. Keep reading for my spoiler free review!
From the cover:
When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath’s country house feels like a safe haven. Leaving the smog and fear behind, the girls have the love and freedom they never had in their violent home. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel.
Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing; every day the surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house; a mysterious boy appears from the enclosing wood offering friendship, and Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest. A man with no eyes who creeps ever closer.
First of all I want to start with a trigger warning for domestic abuse, suicide, starvation and gruesome death.
Ok so, what the hell happened? This book was filled with twists and turns and I really had no idea what was happening, or what would happen until the very end, and even then my mind was still blown.
The format of the book was unlike anything I’ve read before. Written from four different perspectives (the three sisters in 1980 when they created The Creeper Man, Silla, Aunt Cath and Nori) each perspective is written in a different font and style which meant the narrator was easy to distinguish.
The entire book is split into six smaller books, with each chapter beginning with a poem and many including a “broken book entry” into which Silla writes in a sort of acrostic style, where some of the words are bold and form a new sentence when joined together.
While the book is definitely freaky, there is an overwhelming feeling of sorrow alongside it. Silla and Nori run away from home and their abusive father, only to end up escaping one evil and be thrust into another, despite everything seeming idyllic in the beginning. Once Silla and Nori become trapped in La Baume, their lives become horrifically monotonous and their days are virtually the same day in day out as things get progressively worse. But don’t be fooled into thinking this would be boring. Each page had an undercurrent of total creepiness throughout, and I was totally enthralled with the story, desperate to see what would happen to the sisters.
Whilst I did feel empathy towards the characters, I didn’t feel an attachment to any of them due to a serious case of distrust and unreliable narrator syndrome. Throughout the book we were exposed to many different versions of the truth, but which is really the truth?
There is so much depth and so many layers that are constantly peeled back and put back together throughout the story; I have so much admiration for Kurtagich’s writing. Hints were dropped throughout the book which when I look back are so damn clever but I totally missed the first time around.
When I got to the end of the story it was seriously a “holy shit” moment. I couldn’t believe the tale that Kurtagich had woven together. It was utterly dark, tense and exactly what I would consider a horror story to be, though what you expect in the beginning is definitely not what you get at the end.
I found myself constantly second guessing my thoughts, and would definitely class The Creeper Man as a psychological horror. It would make an awesome film but would be completely terrifying!
There isn’t really much more that I can say without giving everything away so basically if you love creepy horror stories that will mess with your mind and keep you tucked firmly under your quilt with your lamp left on, then you need to read this book. The Creeper Man is the perfect read for Halloween night, just don’t blame me if it gives you nightmares!
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