An independent film maker named Kyle is drowning in debt and is desperate for any paying job that will help his dire financial situation. A bizarre old man soon offers him a staggering amount of money to shoot a documentary on a sinister apocalyptic cult called The Temple of the Last Days (which met a grisly end back in 1975). Against his better judgment-and because he really, really needs the money-Kyle agrees to shoot the documentary. He soon regrets taking on the assignment however due to a series of creepy events that take place, and before it is all over he learns that there are some things much scarier than not having any money.
I am a big fan of Adam Nevill and think that he is one of the best horror writers in the business today. I really enjoyed his previous novels Apartment 16 (which is very well-written and just genuinely creepy in general) and The Ritual (which is nothing short of brilliant in my opinion), so I was happy when my copy of Last Days arrived. Once again Nevill delivers and I wasn’t disappointed at all by his latest endeavor. I really got into the book early on and had a hard time putting it down on several occasions just because I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Kyle and his cameraman Dan as they visit different areas of the globe (each one a little creepier than the one before) in their efforts to learn and document everything that they can about the mysterious cult. Like his previous work, this book has some very spooky and unnerving events taking place that will no doubt give some readers nightmares for weeks to come.
I have always really liked Nevill’s writing style as he says what needs to be said and gets to the point without rambling on and on and going into way too many details like some other horror writers are guilty of doing. He is a very talented writer and I love that fact that some of the parts of this book are written in a way that reminded me of a “found footage” movie. I have never really read a book that has tried to do anything like this, and Nevill has such a great ability to paint a picture with his words that at times it is almost like you are actually there with Kyle and Dan and are seeing the things that they are seeing. I thought that giving some parts a Cannibal Holocaust/Rec/Blair Witch Project-like feel to it was an awesome touch, and I can’t help but wonder how many other writers will attempt to do the same in the future.
Probably the main reason I really liked this novel so much was thanks to the characters. Nevill has a gift for creating realistic, likeable characters that the reader will care about, and as such I think that Kyle is his best character to date. I think that many people will be able to relate to him for a variety of reasons, especially when it comes to his worries about his financial woes at the beginning of the book. Unless they were born into a rich family most people (especially these days due to the horrible economy and the massive amount of people losing their jobs every day) have at one time or the other wrestled with money problems (I know I have more times than I can remember) so they can really connect with Kyle. He is desperate for money and even though he knows in the back of his head that something is just not right with the job he is being offered he takes it just because he needs the cash. Some people out there may argue that they wouldn’t do what Kyle does in the book, but let me tell you, when you need money to eat, pay rent, and just survive in general you do pretty much what you need to do regardless of the circumstances that may follow. I think that creating such a character in today’s troubled times is a stroke of genius, and I applaud Nevill for doing so as it shows that he knows what problems and struggles most people are forced to deal with on a daily basis.
I really dug Last Days, and think that it is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I really don’t want to go into too many details about the book as I think that readers should discover what Nevill’s wonderfully twisted mind has in store for them for themselves. I don’t think that it would be fair to spoil the ride for anyone, so let’s just say that things get a little messy for Kyle and Dan in a number of ways during their travels and leave it at that. If you are one of those people who are terrified by the thought of being involved with (or running afoul of) some evil cult then this book will provide you with a lot of nightmare material. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of well-written horror that scares you and makes you think at the same time, and if you haven’t picked up any of Nevill’s other works you need to do so as soon as possible as you are in for a real treat.
Book Review: Last Days – Author Adam Nevill