Progeny: Shaun Hutson
Reviewed By Simon Paul Wilson
Long before Extreme Horror and Splatterpunk were a thing, there was the horror writer, Shaun Hutson.
Back in the eighties and nineties, Hutson was the man you went to for books that were filled with gore and gross-out moments.
It was on a family holiday in Cornwall when I picked up my first book of his. Deathday’s cover grabbed my attention. The back cover blurb ensured I made the purchase.
Two days later, I returned to the same bookshop and bought another two Hutson books.
It has to be said, a few of my favourite horror novels of all time were written by Shaun Hutson. Relics and Erebus are both relentless and gory reads that I recommend to anyone who likes their pages blood-soaked.
So, here I am in 2021 with a new SH book called Progeny, a sequel to one of his early horrors, Spawn.
My question is, will this be as good as his classics?
The answer is a big fat ‘Yes’.
Progeny is a tale about Jake Howard, a man who seems to have everything. He’s got the job, the car, the young and beautiful girlfriend. Yep, it would seem that Jake is a lucky fellow. However, not only is he troubled by some very dark dreams, he can’t remember anything of the first ten years of his life.
The story kicks off in true Hutson style with a shocker of a first chapter. I feel a trigger warning must be given here, as Chapter One contains a truly brutal and horrific scene that takes place in a maternity ward. While the rest of the story has plenty of shocks and blood, I do feel that opening was the darkest part of the book.
Progeny is a fast read and one that keeps you guessing till the end. That’s another thing I love about his books, the grim final chapters. That’s not a spoiler by the way, just another of his famous trademarks.
My only negative about Progeny would be that I was left feeling like the book should have been a couple of chapters longer. There were a few things I was expecting answers to, but these never came. Perhaps it’s just me being a bit fussy now I’m an older reader of his. How the years change us. I’m sure the younger me who bought Deathday would tell me to shut up and enjoy the read. I think I’ll listen to him.
So, regardless of this minor quibble, Progeny is another Hutson hit. While It can be read as a stand-alone novel, I do recommend checking out Spawn first. Double the horror is never a bad thing!
Can you imagine what it would be like not to have any memory of your first ten years of life?
Jake Howard knows how that feels. He’s a successful psychiatrist and writer. He has an apparently adoring lover and the respect of his peers. But he also has a huge gap where his childhood memories should be.
What’s more, Jake is tormented by the worst kind of nightmares. Nightmares he’s not even sure are his.
Tormented by dreams and visions that threaten his sanity, he must find their source in order to understand and banish them. His hunt will take him to a run-down seaside town, to the place where he was raised and also forty years back in time, to what he must confront to release himself from the grip of the visions and also to discover the hidden memories. However, he will discover things about himself he did not dare imagine.
Things he really didn’t want to know. And he will also discover that not everyone is what they appear to be. Those revelations will expose a darkness and horror that no one should have to confront.
Sometimes a lie is preferable.
Some truth is best left undiscovered…
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Simon Paul Wilson
Simon Paul Wilson is a U.K. based writer of horror and science fiction.
He is currently writing a cyberpunk horror trilogy, the first of which is GhostCityGirl and was published by Not A Pipe publishing in 2020.
Click this link for more info: Ghost City Girl
There now follows a list of writers who have influenced his reading tastes and writing style:
James Herbert. Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Keene, and Adam Nevill.
Simon lives somewhere in the middle of England with his wonderful family. He likes to listen to post-rock and progressive rock at loud volumes. He also plays a mean air bass.
Follow him on Twitter: @spwzen