Cover Image: A History of Fear

A History of Fear

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

It has taken me a bit to write this review because I had trouble separating the idea of this book and the book itself.  This novel provides an in-depth look into the mind and life of Grayson Hale, who after murdering his fellow classmate, claims the Devil made him do it. After Grayson is found hanged in his prison cell, his handwritten manuscript is uncovered;  will it provide some insight for the motive of one of Scotland's most infamous murders? Was it really a work of the Devil? 

I'll be honest, I enjoyed the idea of this book more than the book itself.  It was just too wordy and over-written for my personal taste.  The time period felt WAY off and it almost gave the book a pretentious, try-hard feel (though it is marked as literary suspense, after all). It felt like I had to reread each page multiple times because I just kept zoning out.  In the end, many bits seems unnecessary (and just unnecessarily long-winded). 

That's not to say I didn't enjoy some parts of this debut novel.  Though not religious myself, I surprisingly enjoyed learning about Grayson's upbringing.  The glimpses of his childhood were probably my favorite of the read.  The idea was there. The conflict was there.  I KNOW this book will be for some people and I encourage you to give it a try, but unfortunately, it just wasn't for me. 

Thank you @atriabooks  and @Netgalley for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Have never read anything like this! I loved the depth and honestly it was scary, which is hard for a book to be these days! I think it could have been a tad shorter but that’s my only real “issue”. Enjoyed otherwise!
Was this review helpful?
Has the feel of the classic possession stories with a dark academia twist. A recommended purchase for collections where horror is popular.
Was this review helpful?
This very well written book about a man controlled by the devil actually scared me. 
I couldn't read this before bedtime because it caused my mind to spiral.
Was this review helpful?

It’s a classic premise told in a unique (kind of) and fun way. It’s properly scary as well. ‘Tis what saves the book because it is way too long and written as if the author thought me stupid.

Thank you for this opportunity. I will update with links once the review is live on all platforms.
Was this review helpful?
The manuscript of Scotland's most infamous murderer, Grayson Hale, is discovered after he is found hanging in prison. This manuscript provides a detailed tour of Hale's descent into madness and evil. The proposition being that the devil himself forced Hale to commit his crimes. An interesting concept and one of the more inventive novels I've read. Creepy, for sure. Will appeal to horror fans.
Was this review helpful?
I have mixed feelings about this book. The sentences and writing felt a bit choppy to me as though it didn’t flow well, but I had to finish to see where it went. It did wrap me into the storyline, and I did feel immersed in that atmosphere. I’m not sure the blood and excrement in the sheets w DB or Liam was necessary, and it didn’t seem to fit in with the rest. So, I’d like to try another book by the author because I saw good points, but this book wasn’t a 5 star read for me personally. Thank you for the opportunity to read it!
Was this review helpful?
Gave this 3 stars because I loved the concept but it just fell a little flat for me.  Timelines got a little distracting and the book was overwritten. I did like the twist at the end and the elements of creepiness. 

Thank you NetGalley for this opportunity to do an ARC review!
Was this review helpful?
DNF - I wanted to love this but ultimately, it wasn't for me. I'm sure that many other casual readers might appreciate this & it does seem they do, based solely on some of the reviews here.
Was this review helpful?
Well, one thing is for sure. I'm pretty sure I've never read anything like this. I honestly don't know how to explain it, but I'm going to try anyway.

This an investigative analysis of one young man's psychological spiral and descent into mania, and eventually murder. All stemming from childhood abuse and repression due to extreme religion. Or is it?

Was he actually compelled by the devil to do evil? In Grayson Hale's own words, he provides a convincing narrative of how the world (including himself) is influenced by the adversary, providing research of the devil's historically strong presence in Scotland.   

Reading this is to decide for yourself which perspective is true.
And it's a story that will leave you reeling.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of A History of Fear.

The premise sounded so creepy I had to request it and was (naturally) excited when my request was approved.

First, the title is misleading. It should be called The Devil is in Scotland.

Second, the main character, Grayson Hale, is the 'villain' yet not quite. 

The author describes a neurotic, emotionally fragile young man who survived an emotionally and psychologically abusive childhood.

Sadly, I didn't find him a compelling main character; in fact; his anxious personality (I know his childhood was hard), was a turn off. He lacked confidence and self-esteem, making him a likely victim of the Devil.

Then, the writing. It was great, the author can write.

Except he wrote too much. 

Readers get tons of exposition; mostly long-winded, unnecessary, descriptive paragraphs of Hale's strict, religious parents which made me wonder if the author has a beef against religion in general.

There is plenty of repetitive filler about the fiends that plague Hale, the satanophobia that rears its ugly head in his life when he least expects it.

The constant flashbacks to Hale's past and his unhappy childhood and distant father and callous mother disrupted the current narrative. 

There is no comfortable transition from past and present, not to mention the excerpts from interview transcripts interspersed pulled me away from Hale's current narrative.

Then, there's the parts with DB. Those scenes are not scary, Not horror. They're actually pretty few and far in between and when something does happen, I go "huh." I'm not scared.

The author spends more time building Hale's fragile psyche but his interactions with DB is minuscule, compared to the plot

I was a little creeped out, especially when Hale is confronted with the possibility that he might have made up DB in his emotionally fragile state, but nothing about Hale and DB's interactions had me scared, not Exorcist scared.

As I mentioned, the writing was good, but oddly formal at times. 

Also, Hale uses Scottish slang yet as an American, he would automatically use words like apartment for flat, line for queue, etc.

It was almost as if the author couldn't remember Hale is American. He hadn't been living in Scotland to adopt their vernacular so quickly.

I also had some questions when I finished A History of Fear.

Why was Hale's dad targeted by DB?
Why was the devil so intent that people in Scotland believe in him again?
What does Scotland have to do with the devil?

I really liked the premise and the author can write but an unlikable character, lengthy exposition, and no scares made this not the read I had hoped for.
Was this review helpful?

Thanks to @NetGalley and @atriabooks for the ARC of A History of Fear by Luke Dumas.

Grayson Hale, college student, murderer - Devil's Advocate? - was found hanging in his prison cell... handwritten manuscript by his side. A History of Fear explores the events surrounding the murder of Liam Stewart and Hale's steady decline as the reader is left wondering: Did the Devil make him do it?

Wow. I read the last line of this book and felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. It was as if I had all the pieces and they slammed together in my brain at the last word. This book was tense and creepy, peppered with uncertainty and a maddening amount of exposition. I was on a knife's edge...balancing between two beliefs...teetering one way and then the other but never falling completely in either direction. Even now I know what logic tells me happened and what my gut says...and they are not the same thing.

I actually enjoyed the first person POV... I don't think it could have been told as effectively any other way. I liked that the manuscript was interspersed with notes and interviews by the journalist because it contributed to the feelings of uncertainty... especially the tidbits we get about Grayson's childhood.

A History of Fear is an intense psychological thriller that I am definitely planning on buying in print. The only minor complaint I have is that it gets a little... wordy in parts, but overall I thought it was brilliant. 

I look forward to reading more from Luke Dumas in the future.


#atriabooks #AHistoryofFear #netgalley #arcreadsandreviews #arcreadsofinstagram #TheDevilisinScotland #horror #psychologicalthriller #bookstagram #fivestarread
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4 because I really liked the concept and the big “twist”, despite the overall mediocre ending. 

A very interesting take on the “devil made me do it” type of story. I really felt like the book started off strong and it kept me interested even though it was a slow burn. But the closer I got to the end, it started to feel more rushed, which was kind of disappointing. BUT I will say that I never saw that last page twist coming (even though it was front and center alllll along throughout the book). Solid horror/psychological thriller book & I look forward to seeing what Luke Dumas does next after this debut. I wish there were more good horror books like this out there, because I would read them all the time! Creepy, intriguing, and unsettling. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The blurb:
Grayson Hale is accused of. murdering is friend Liam. Not long after being judged guilty, he is found dead in his cell with strange marks on his chest. He left a diary of what happened before the murder and a journalist decides to investigate the whole thing by interviewing relatives, psychologists and friends. She soon discovers two sides to a very strange story.

Review :
Oh. my. god.! It was weird, it was creepy, it was dark. This book makes you question everything. Is Grayson saying the truth? Is he a madman? Would his "friends" and relatives purposely lie to make him look bad? One thing is sure, he had hell of a life. pun intended.

I found the story to be sometimes slow paced and sometimes really fast paced. I feel like this would be the perfect book for fall, by the fireside during thunderstorm with a hot cup of tea. The ambience is so gloomy, you can almost smell the rain. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a strange gothic and dark novel.

Thank you to @NetGalley, @atriabooks and @thenewdumas for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book is coming out in December 2022. Perfect for Christmas! 😉
Was this review helpful?
I devoured this in a day....
Dumas's writing is gripping and a perfect.
Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary Copy
Was this review helpful?
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Grayson Hale has been convicted of the murder of his classmate, however it isn’t entirely his fault. After all, the devil made him do it. 

Desperate for money, Grayson Hale agrees to ghostwrite a book for a man called D.B, a man as mysterious and unsettling as they come. The premise of the book is simple - remind Scotland of the Devil’s existence. "MAKE THEM, every one of them, REMEMBER THE DEVIL"

Upon accepting the contract, Hale is initially cautious, thought desperation drives his research of devilry at the promise of enough money to fund his graduate studies. But what starts as a mere business transaction between the two soon twists and turns and spirals into something much more sinister. As he researches the history of fear of the devil, Grayson’s own past and religious trauma surfaces in the return of his satanophobia and delusions of fiends. And while the devil may be targeting him for his own reasons, Hale’s own slipping sense of reality marks others for target as well.

A History of Fear is a deeply disturbing work of psychological suspense that leaves the reader guessing until the very end. Even then, readers will wonder whether what they’ve read was real, if the facts presented can be trusted, or if it simply is all in their heads.

Dumas has proved himself a very talented and skilled storyteller, and I will be screaming my love for this book until it’s release. I cannot wait to see what else Dumas has in store for me.
Was this review helpful?
I was really excited to read this one but it fell flat for me. I wanted more story and less "a history lesson of Scotland". Per the premise, I expected some history of Scotland and was actually looking forward to that but in reality, it was just too much history and not enough story for me.
Was this review helpful?
A History of Fear by Luke Dumas has an interesting premise but sadly falls a little short in execution.
There are so many elements at play in this novel--childhood trauma, mental health, and identity plus a deal with the Devil and the effects it has on the main character Grayson Hale. Without giving too much away this book takes the old tack that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to convince people he doesn't exist.
It makes for an interesting story here with the reader going between believing Grayson's version of events and questioning his grasp of reality.
Where the book fell a little flat for me was that the time frame was hard to place--The story is told in such a way that we are reading a found manuscript written by Grayson Hale and the style is reminiscent of classic literature yet when Grayson describes his interaction with other characters it is in a much more contemporary voice. If the intention is to create a fog where we are not sure of the time period then it succeeds. 
Thanks to #NetGalley, #AtriaBooks, and Luke Dumas for the ARC of #AHistoryofFear.
Was this review helpful?
A HIstory of Fear is a creepy book about a guy named Grayson Hale who goes over the edge and after killing a classmate becomes known as the Devil’s Advocate.  The story is told in part like a diary written by Grayson and also in doctor's notes and interviews that were taken during and after the trial.  The story really ups the paranoia factor with Grayson's satanophobia which is a rare condition that causes him to live in fear that the devil is after him. It grabs you from the start and keeps rolling like a freight train to the crazy ending.  With subtle hints along the way you can kind of piece together a bit of what is really going on, but it does leave some questions.  I thought it was fantastically written and flew through it.  I look forward to reading more by this author, they definitely know how to tell one heck of a story.
Was this review helpful?
A History of Fear is a lyrical work of psychological suspense and horror that makes the reader question what's real and what isn't.

Many horror books attempt to wrestle with playing with the reader- making it a mystery if the monsters are all in the head of the protagonist, or a very real force. Few pull it off. Thankfully, A History of Fear manages to take the concept and leave the reader guessing until the very end- was it real all along, or another sad tale of mental illness and familial pressures? Part of this is due to the book's pacing, tense and fast without feeling as though too much is happening at once. The other part is thanks to the novel's lyrical quality, prose that flows artistically without being cloying.

Without giving too much away, props should also be given for the wake Dumas handles one of the central conflicts-religious trauma, abuse, and sexuality. Again, there's a lot of potential for an author to completely fumble the situation, making light or mockery of such heavy topics, but the way its handled is ultimately completely realistic and also tragic.

This is a book of cold autumn nights, of leaves changing and the drip of rain. Scary stories are told round the fire, but one with the ring of reality is scariest of all.
Was this review helpful?