The Creeper by AM Shine

Posted On 5 December 2022

Filed under Book Reviews
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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Scary, atmospheric shocking and creepy

Creeper

Yes, this book does exactly what you would expect with a title like The Creeper.  It’s a strange mix of Irish folklore, horror and urban legend.

The story opens with a gripping start. We then move on to follow our main POV Ben French.  Ben, a historian, is a little down on his luck and so when he’s offered an interview for a position by a wealthy man called Alex Sparling he jumps at the chance.  When he arrives he meets the only other candidate, Chloe Coogan, an archaeologist.  The two are offered the chance to carry out some research for Spalding and the rewards for doing so are high. But, this is a highly secretive undertaking requiring them to sign non-disclosure agreements before they even set out the door – it all seems a little off somehow and if something seems too good to be true then it usually is.

Tir Mallacht is quite literally a village forgotten in time.  It doesn’t seem to exist on any maps and can only be reached by a hard day’s hiking.  Ben and Chloe have been tasked with visiting the village and trying to glean any information they can from the villagers whether it be how they live, why they have isolated themselves from the modern world and anything else they can dig up of historic or archaeological significance and they’ve also been tasked with asking the villagers about the Creeper.  When the two eventually arrive they receive a frosty reception.  A number of villagers are selected to talk to Ben but the interviewees prove to be close lipped and evasive.  Only one little girl  speaks to them, without the permission of her elders, and seems to take great delight in willingly telling them of the local myth –  ‘The Creeper – Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer… on the fourth night – uhuh!  Well, nobody knows what happens on the fourth night because nobody is seen again to tell the tale.  If that isn’t creepy enough, as the darkness approaches everyone withdraws indoors, shutters and doors are tightly locked and the place becomes like a ghost town with only Ben and Chloe remaining outside.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because it would be far too easy to give away spoilers so will instead give an overview of my feelings.

Well, firstly, this started off a little slowly but I think the pace was necessary in order to help build a bigger picture and to develop tension.  Basically the story only covers a very short time span so it would have been very easy to simply speed forward but the author gives us a feel for Ben and Chloe, both new to each other, setting out all hopeful on an adventure that promises rewards should they succeed.  They’re both a bit sceptical about the place and the superstitions but when they eventually arrive the condition of the village and its inhabitants is something of a shock to say the least.

Ben likes to remain steadfast in his belief that the bogeyman doesn’t exist and that such stories only gather strength from word of mouth and fear.  Of course, after having spent a freezing cold night out in a tent with very little warmth or protection (not to mention other strange occurences) well, he’s only too happy to put as much distance as possible between himself and this isolated village.  Chloe is a much more hopeful kind of character, generally upbeat and likeable, she pretty soon decides the whole venture is a lost cause and after a fairly terrifying night can’t wait to hightail it out of there too.

The setting is really well portrayed.  The village is overbearingly, almost cloyingly, creepy.  The villagers themselves are a strange bunch.  A couple of hundred years of inbreeding coupled with lack of any proper nutrition has left them with many problems and they come across as both scared yet scary and not a tad paranoid.  The whole place is filthy, drab and depressing and you better believe that I would have been out of there in a New York minute.

Then we come to the real crux of the story.  The Creeper.  This is one of those dark tales that feels appropriate to share round a campfire on Halloween.  The origins stretch back a couple of hundred years and although much has been lost over time it seems like dark and diabolical forces may have been involved.  The feel could be likened to The Ring or The Candyman where to invoke ‘something’ usually leads to death.

Now, let’s talk about the ending.  I still don’t know what to think or feel about it.  Put simply this was something of a shock. I just didn’t second guess what was really going on here and I admit that this was twisted and unexpected, not to mention, well downright surprisingly shocking.  Did I mention the shock of it all?  Not to mention a bit brutal and a little gruesome.  Intrigued much?

Not for the faint of heart, scary, creepy and twisted. And, one more time couldn’t possibly hurt – shocking!

I received a copy through Netgalley,courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks, the above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars.

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4 Responses to “The Creeper by AM Shine”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Well, the title alone was enough to make me pay attention, but your review just put this book firmly on my radar – and your comments about the shocking ending are just like the proverbial cherry on top 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    A completely new one to me, but you absolutely sold me. Horror is my bag, and mixed with urban legends? That’s just icing on the cake.

  3. pagesandtea

    That sounds like the kind of ending that usually makes me wish I’d read the book at the same time as someone else so we could talk about it without risking spoilers 😀

  4. Tammy

    I need this book! It sounds perfect for my mood right now too, lol.

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