Cunning Folk: Adam Nevill
Reviewed By S.P. Wilson
At the end of Cunning Folk, Adam Nevill talks about the origins of this tale and mentions a scene he views as one of the most upsetting he’s ever imagined.
I have to say, the scene in question is very upsetting, and made me shout “Oh! No! No!” when I read it.
My son, who is eight, came running into the living room, asking what I was reading and why I was shouting so loudly. After a brief discussion, my son added Mr Nevill to his list of horror authors to be read when he’s old enough.
And damn right, too. In my opinion, Adam Nevill is one of my favourite writers, and Cunning Folk is one of his best books. I’m sure my son will feel the same, and so may you.
Adam Nevill has this knack of writing stuff that is so creepy, so eerie, it gets under your skin and stays there. Cunning Folk certainly put images in my head that are perfect for the spooky month of October, but not so good for getting a peaceful night’s sleep.
Take that cover image, for example. That’s just one of a pair of grotesque animal heads that feature in this book. I’m actually quite happy the other head isn’t shown on the back cover. Not that I need art to petrify me, Mr. Nevill did enough of that with his words.
Keeping this review free of spoilers, Cunning Folk is the story of a family who plan to renovate a dilapidated country house into their home. Sadly for Tom, Fiona, and young Gracie, things don’t pan out that way.
Their neighbours, The Moots, are just the worst of people, as well as being very odd and downright sinister. What starts off as complaints and rude behaviour, soon spirals into something utterly terrifying and very dark indeed. As the story progresses, the tension and feeling of dread gives way to full blown horror. At times, this book scared the living daylights out of me. I absolutely bloody loved it.
Cunning Folk is a fantastic horror novel and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re a fan of horror, you need to own a copy of this. It’s an easy ten out of ten, five stars, and two horns raised.
My dreams of moving to the country just about survived my reading this book. That’s a good thing, and worthy of a happy dance.
Just not backwards.
Please, no more dancing backwards.
I need some decent sleep!
No home is heaven with hell next door.
Money’s tight and their new home is a fixer-upper. Deep in rural South West England, with an ancient wood at the foot of the garden, Tom and his family are miles from anywhere and anyone familiar. His wife, Fiona, was never convinced that buying the money-pit at auction was a good idea. Not least because the previous owner committed suicide. Though no one can explain why.
Within days of crossing the threshold, when hostilities break out with the elderly couple next door, Tom’s dreams of future contentment are threatened by an escalating tit-for-tat campaign of petty damage and disruption.
Increasingly isolated and tormented, Tom risks losing his home, everyone dear to him and his mind. Because, surely, only the mad would suspect that the oddballs across the hedgerow command unearthly powers. A malicious magic even older than the eerie wood and the strange barrow therein. A hallowed realm from where, he suspects, his neighbours draw a hideous power.
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