The Moor

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Pub Date 08 May 2018 | Archive Date 23 Nov 2018
Unbound, Unbound Digital

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It begins with a ghost story around a campfire. Teenagers out on a walking trip, trying to act brave in front of each other.

But as the walk gets underway and the boys begin to fall out, odd things start to happen.

Noises in the night. A severed rabbit’s foot outside someone’s tent.

Soon, the boys begin to disappear.

As panic sets in and a storm approaches, the remaining boys must band together to face a darkness not even the local ghost stories could help them predict.

It begins with a ghost story around a campfire. Teenagers out on a walking trip, trying to act brave in front of each other.

But as the walk gets underway and the boys begin to fall out, odd things...

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ISBN 9781912618064
PRICE £10.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 120 members

Featured Reviews

This is a short book that you won't be able to put down once you've started!

A campsite setting for a ghostly horror story, boys going missing and different points of view set out amongst newspaper articles, this book has it all. I won't spoil it by saying any more than that...

The boys, all friends plus a newcomer to the area, are described in a way that paints a picture in your head clear as day. The descriptive text works beautifully with the rest of the narrative and you cannot put the book down until you know what happened to those boys! A great read by an emerging author, one to watch.

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A fun, horrifying foray into the English countryside and the evil that may or may not lurk therein. Reminded me of Adam Nevill's "The Ritual", but interspersed with clippings, multiple perspectives, and a bit more of a YA bent. Recommend for fans of YA horror.

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Great paced tale reminded me of American werewolf in places, in a good way. Good weekend read. Thanks to Netgalley for the copy.

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I will be the first to admit that I am quite the picky reader. It takes a lot to hold my attention, and I've even found myself being critical of the most successful authors for not pulling me in right away, or not being able to consistently captivate me throughout. This was absolutely NOT the case with The Moor. I absolutely loved the protagonists of the story, although I will say I may or may not have wished for someone to throw Gary off a cliff at one or more points during my reading. I enjoyed the plot even more than I thought I would after initially reading the synopsis. We journey alongside a group of boys hiking and camping along the Moors. Rumors have swirled about many that have gone missing, and the group of friends learn more than they'd like around the fire on their first night there, but could this just be a distraction from the real horrors of Rutmoor?

I absolutely did not expect nor was I able to predict (and boy was I trying from the very beginning) where this tale was going to go. A quick and never dull story with, for me, a surprisingly emotional ending that I didn't see coming. I implore everyone to add this to your shelf or whatever sort of reading device you use, because it is definitely one of my favorite new books of 2018 and I cannot wait to see what comes next from the author!

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One adult and five 13 year old boys start out on a hike through the moors. Only three come back. The leader and two boys, Tom and Gary have disappeared. Tim, James and Matt day they became separated during a storm. The other three are never found.
I enjoyed reading this book. It has drama, suspense, and you can never guess what will happen next. Well written, great storyline.
I recommend it to be read!

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ooh I loved this book. It reminded me of being at girl guide camp telling ghost stories and getting scared out my wits.

This kind of read has been done so many times but this atmospheric read is creepy and dark and absolutely fabulous.

The story is pacy and filled with suspense. I didn't like the animal description but this is a book that will satisfy any lust for blood, and spine chilling reading.

Really really good

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4.5 stars

I enjoyed this a lot. A proper classic spooky story of a group of teenagers going camping and starting to mysteriously disappear.
The difference here though is that it is set on the Devon moors in South West England. A place very close to my heart. The fact that that area of the UK is already well associated with the supernatural just makes things extra creepy and extra real.

The story switches between timelines allowing the reader to slowly put the pieces together to work out exactly that happened. Just as one timeline is getting super suspenseful we get thrown into another time making this little book impossible to put down. I do love a good tease.

I feel like the "reveal" was maybe done a tiiiiny bit early but with such a short book I can see why it was done. I just would have liked the mystery to have been a little bit longer. Honestly, I would love the whole thing to be longer. I didn't want it to end.

Overall, an excellent debut and I can't wait to read more from this author!

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Sam Haysom’s debut novel works on many different levels and is very quite impressive. Starting off steering the audience in one direction and then realistically changing it to something else really pays off in this spine tingling journey.

The novel is written in the third person and jumps back and forth between two time settings which works very well in the overall construct of the story. The newspaper clippings/stories are a nice touch and works very well as a plot device that adds instead of distracting.

The characters are very well drawn and lift the story that could have easily become a two dimensional representation which the author successfully stays away from. It is also worth noting that the dialogue between the younger selves and the older selves works exceedingly well with an ear for the vocal patterns of the younger characters very effective.

The story gives clues throughout with the overall supernatural setting that makes the reader an active participant whilst reading. With unexpected plot twists and turns, keeping me on my toes, I relished every plot point and overall essence of this novel.

This is a top rated novel that caught me by surprise and if this is the beginning of the author’s career, I can’t wait to see what they have in store with their next instalment. Exciting, scary but kept in a realistic setting with supernatural twist, this novel is a real hidden gem that will not disappoint. If you are looking for something a little off kilter with good characters, spine tingling sensation and a fantastic plot, you can not go wrong with The Moor.

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I normally don’t read this genre, but The Moor was a great one to pick up. The setting was a big draw for me initially. Overall Good read!

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(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I never thought as I started reading this one, that I’d get so much enjoyment out of it. It took me by surprise; one of those moments that make this hobby so worth it. It all began with clippings from newspapers, written in a way that suggested they were merely pieces of a puzzle. Indeed, that set my mind ablaze with theories that wouldn’t subside throughout the entire book. I loved how it gave me a new perspective over the characters, how they interacted with each other, and in general how they were presented. Haysom was clever enough to give enough of a tease that pulled me in, made me want to know more, and I very much appreciated it. As I believe it, this is a debut novel, yet I wouldn’t have guessed. Many of the pitfalls new authors fall into – such as a lack of sufficient editing and typical horror tropes that are almost painfully overused at this point – were largely absent, giving an almost fresh take.

The atmosphere of Rutmoor, of how utterly miserable and arduous the travel became, it created vivid imagery in my head, and induced a very strong aversion to hiking. I can now say it’s not something I want to do ever, in my lifetime. Honestly, the dynamic of the hiking group was a highlight; it had that pinch of realism to it. Each individual offered something unique with their personality, and like any real life circle, they all differed and even clashed together. Sometimes it was ugly, other times sweet, but most of all, their friendships were authentic. My favourite had to be Tom; undoubtedly the most sensible of the lot, followed by Matt and James. Even despite the young age of each, I was still able to relate. Yes, there was some immaturity – pretty much what you’d expect from teens, but it wasn’t to the extreme.

The format of the plot struck me as quite different, in that rather than waiting until the end to reveal the big twist, it was just after fifty percent that it came into play. I can’t say it was unexpected – in fact, I had my suspicions much earlier, but I adored it regardless. You see, I much prefer when the direction of the story changes so drastically from my initial assumptions. If it’s done well, like it so wonderfully was in this case, then I feel like I’m kept on my toes, like I don’t have time to even look away. The question of survival played a significant part, as due to the parallel running chapters of present day (2015 to be precise), those that endured the horrors of the moor were made known, thus it was not the matter of who’s going to survive, but how do they survive.

The only thing that I found quite awkward, was the continual switch of past / present tense in the style of writing, however I understand it was used as a tool – to obviously convey the period of time, and perhaps even to alleviate confusion. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a challenge to get used to it.

In conclusion: I considered it a great story, and to be completely truthful, it soared above my expectations. With a slow beginning of character and atmosphere building, the story exploded into a creepfest that kept my attention. My applause goes to Haysom, and his impressive debut novel.

Notable Scene:

The rabbit’s body was a mangled pulp of flesh, bone and hair. Its eyeless, earless face stared up at him from the grass. Patches of drying blood lay on the grass around it.
From somewhere behind Gary, a tree branch snapped.

© Red Lace 2018

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A dark and atmospheric yarn, the plot reels you in and doesn’t spit you out until the last page!!! Loved it! A new author for me but will definitely be looking out for more

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Like many areas of life in the past few decades - ever since the birth of the internet and then, later, social media - publishing has been going through a tumultuous period. Long established business models have been thrown into flux. Are traditional publishers fit for purpose? What about literary agents? Certainly some, like the ever impressive author Mark Dawson, have turned their backs on the lot and carved out lucrative careers in self-publishing.

A problem with self-publishing however is how does one separate the wheat from the chaff? When anyone can publish a novel, how does one know whether it’s any good and professionally edited, or just thrown out there? How can one separate the budding Mark Dawsons from those who just aren’t any good?

An alternative model to both traditional publishing and the pitfalls of self-publishing might be crowdfunding and that’s where an intriguing new service called Unbound comes into play. Basically, authors pitch their novel to Unbound. If Unbound think they have merit, they then put them up on their site for readers to crowdfund. The money raised goes to the cost of professionally producing the books - editing, proofreading, cover design, etc - and as with any crowdfunding campaign, those funding the novel get various rewards, such as a special first edition.

Intrigued by this idea, I found one of their titles - The Moor by Sam Haysom - on Netgalley, the review service I use and decided to give it a read. Was it any good?Had Unbound done its job and found a gem?

Well yes, they have.

The Moor follows a group of boys - Gary, James, Tom, Matt, and newcomer to their school Tim - on a camping trip in Rutmoor National Park with Tim’s dad, Mr Stevens. Rutmoor has a bit of a reputation, people having gone missing and died in mysterious circumstances. Mr Stevens is a charming man and the other parents love him, he’s also a skilled hill walker, hence them readily agreeing to entrust their children in his care. Sat around the campfire one night, the conversation of the Moor’s reputation comes up and Mr Stevens tells them all a gruesome ghost story which sets them all on edge. As the trip continues unpleasant things being to occur.

The novel is told from various characters point of view, it also switches between the time of the trip, when the boys were aged 13, and the present, where the surviving boys are adults. As the novel progresses, we gradually learn which of the characters survived their outing to the more, what happened and why.

Sam Haysom tells his story with aplomb. The characters are well rounded and this is a spooky and creep tale which will have readers turning the pages quickly, wanting to know what happens. This is a really good debut horror and it’s no surprise to me that none other than Owen King, Stephen King’s son and a horror writer in his own rite, has recommended The Moor.

In fact, so impressed was I by The Moor, that on the strength of this novel I’ve got involved with Unbound and pledged money to one of their titles in development. If they can find author’s like Sam then they might well be a worthy addition to the publishing landscape.

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So, I'll start by saying that the back and forth timeline here kind of bugged me at first. It wasn't seamless for me. However, once I got used to that, I was all in.

The book has shades of Stephen King. It's very atmospheric and it's got a kind of a slow build. It doesn't truly feel like horror...until it does.

Once the author lets us in on what's really going on in those woods, it's hard and fast horror - and I didn't want to look away from the page.

And as for the ending? What a terrific surprise that was!

I'll happily read the author again!

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A tense and atmospheric novel, with skilful handling of multiple perspectives and a genuinely unexpected twist.

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Camping and survival go hand in hand...don't they? You are sleeping in a tent, preparing your own meals, hiking miles and miles each day over tough and unforgiving terrain. Pushing yourself, seeing what you can accomplish, the feeling of joy when you reach the top! There's the campfire, the comradely of being with your peers, telling ghost stories around the fire. This should have been a rite of passage for these boys - it should have been! Shouldn't excursions such as this one be one of the things that an individual looks back on later in life with a sense of nostalgia and happiness?

Unfortunately, this was not a trip that will ever be looked back upon with a sense of nostalgia. Things started out well. They had their supplies, they were feeling brave, cocky and energetic. But not everything goes as planned. There are squabbles and bad feelings which are enhanced by not sleeping well after hearing ghost stories before bedtime. But they will tough it out and complete the walk. Won’t they?

But then there is that scream in the night and strange things being to happen. A rabbit's foot is found outside of a tent. Could the rabbit have been attacked by another animal? Could those stories told around the campfire be true? Is their imagination working overtime? Is the Moor a safe place to be?

From the description, it is clear that something is going to happen on this camping trip. Boys begin to disappear, but why? How? Throughout the book there is a feeling of dread. Going in, I knew something would happen and the Author did a great job of having me wonder just what that "something" could be. From his vivid descriptions, I could see the young teens looking around their campsite for their missing peer. Whispering about what they should do, voicing their concerns, trying to be brave. Their concern and fear jumping off the page as they continued their walk/hike.

I would consider this a light horror-ish book. Nothing is too graphic nor scary. There is more of a sense of foreboding and anticipation. The waiting - the dread- you know something is going to happen - but WHAT!?! You heart may beat a little faster as you read, because like the teens, you have no idea what is going to happen next!

This is a well written fast paced little book! I enjoyed the teens on this trip. Even the one who wasn't so like-able, I felt for once I knew his backstory. This is a book which quietly sneaks up on the reader. I hope people who normally don't like horror give this book a chance. I don't believe this book will keep anyone up at night or give them nightmares, but it may make you think twice about camping! This book was enjoyable and delivered a solid story.

Thank you to Unbound digital and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I found this to be a good, quick read. The Moor starts with a ghost story around a campsite and turns into something so much more after boys begin to disappear. I thought it was uniquely written going back from the days of the event to the present, sprinkling in newspaper articles from past to present day.

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Set in the southern moorlands of the Devonshire area of England, “The Moor” opens with a 1951 newspaper clipping recounting the mysterious disappearance of two children from Rutmoor. Throughout the novel further clippings are interspersed between chapters which flip between 2015 and 2002 where most of the action is set. The clippings give shrouded clues of the direction in which the story is heading, with pets and small animals being ritualistically killed and mutilated. Initially, all this chopping and changing is a tad distracting, but once you get the hang of the style and multiple points of view, over the two time periods, the novel gets easier to follow as it progresses. The larger sections are set in 2002 when the friends are young teenagers, with the 2015 part picking up the same characters thirteen years later. If you do struggle with the opening, make sure you stick with it, as it is well worth it.

In the summer of 2002, a group of 13-year-old boys go on a camping trip in Rutmoor National Park, accompanied by the newest member of their friendship group, Tim, and his dad who is a skilled hill walker. They set out to walk and climb their way across the park, taking in all the different peaks which is seen as a local challenge. However, Rutmoor has a reputation for unpredictable weather and strange disappearances, which Mr Stevens tells the boys about during the first evening around the campfire. Local folklore stories claim these disappearances are caused by the ghost of a beautiful red-haired witch found hanged nearby in the early 19th century. Next morning, Gary, the joker of the group is missing from his tent, along with all his things. There is no mobile phone service, they are miles away from help, the group begin to argue, and their problems are just beginning. But for the reader the fun is just beginning.

Not everyone survives, and the author keeps this cleverly keeps the reader guessing as the plot in the main 2002 unfolds and quickly picks up pace, culminating with a dramatic conclusion thirteen years later which ties both strands together. The author builds tension with lots of nice touches, such as a severed rabbit foot outside one of the tents. Is this someone playing a prank or one of the group playing a prank? You’re never quite sure, but as the rain begins to lash down, every broken tree looks threatening to the frightened boys. An animal skull is much more terrifying as the author nods towards “The Blair Witch Project” and familiar horror landmarks.

The multiple points of view between Gary, James, Tom, Matt, and Tim works particularly well and the boys are convincing and likable characters. Their banter is natural and entertaining. Ranging from the clown Gary, who always takes the joke too far, or the sporty and confident Tom to the overweight James. Tim is the socially awkward and introverted new member of the friendship group, who has issues that are revealed as the book develops.

Sam Haysom does a fine job of making the most of a terrific natural setting. In many ways Rutmoor National Park is the star of the book. It’s incredibly well drawn, and through the eyes of these teenagers you’ll feel the rain, mist and wind whistling through their tents. Welcome to England! The initial nods to the 19th century witch were a little too obvious and I was delighted to see the author take the story in a different direction. Also, because it was set in 2002, mobile phones had not yet become advanced enough to play a significant part of the story which I really liked.

“The Moor” will undoubtedly remind you of lots of other novels and films, but it has enough going for it to stand nicely on its two feet and it was an impressive debut novel. In the UK these types of school camping trips are very popular, often with a system called the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, and there is potentially great material here for good horror writers to go to town with, as Sam Hayson confidently does here.

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Actual rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

A group of teenage boys are on a hiking trip at Rutmoor with one of the boy's father. A ghost story is told at the campfire about a witch that was murdered long ago and some people still hear and see her. Soon, one by one, the boys in the group disappear.

Alternating between past and present, the story is told between several different POV's. Newspaper clippings also adds some mystery to the story. The story was fast paced and held my interest throughout. Missing children, screams in the night and mutilated animals makes this a good suspenseful horror story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Unbound for an ARC of Sam Haysom's "The Moor" in exchange on an honest review.

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A short, but good, chilling story. This book is one that will definitely chill you. I wished it had been a bit longer, because I thought it was quick paced and full of thrills and chills.
Will be recommending in Chapter Chatter Pub!

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Wow! I don't even know if I can describe what the heck it is I just read!

It's reminiscent of a really good ghost story, with enough creepiness and horror mixed in that it will keep you up at night.

The length puts this more in lines of a novella, (my ebook came in at 171 pages) but there isn't a word wasted. Told from multiple POV's with jumps from past to present, The Moor sucked me from the start and never let go. Based on the subject matter, there was a lot of potential for this story to go sideways, but its so well written that I didn't have one single eye roll!

The first half of the book creeps along nice and slow, building up the tension at just the right pace until BAM! now you are right in the thick of it, and there is no looking back. While I am not a fan of books that portray animals getting hurt, for some reason I was able to overlook it here. Maybe because more of it was talked about versus having to read how it happened. Another reason I think is because it had a purpose, as sick as that sounds.

If you aren't a fan of creepy campfire stories, this probably isn't for you. There is a solid mystery here, but it's intricately woven in with the stuff good old horror stories are made of.

I do hope there is more on the way from this new author--I'm a big fan and want more!!!

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The Moor by Sam Haysom was an honest to goodness page turner for me. The pace of the storytelling was perfect. The atmosphere and location was wonderful and terrifying. I would love to read more from this author.
Thanks to NetGalley and Unbound digital for the advance copy.

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This book was everything I expected and more. When a group of friends go on a camping trip and share ghost stories around the fire, everything seems ordinary. That is, until friends start disappearing and help is miles away. This book was absolutely horrifying, so suspenseful and heart-pounding in parts, I had to put it down just to catch my breath. The writing was phenomenal in the sense you really experienced the story. I love to go camping and this book reminded me of camping trips going up, but after reading this book, I may just think twice before my next excursion.

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A weekend camping trip for five boys all goes terribly wrong in The Moor.

Strange disappearances, animal mutilations, tales of witches haunting the woods. What is truly happening? Is it really the ghost of Emily Brown or something far more sinister?

We have Before chapters, After chapters, and sprinkled throughout are news paper clippings which is something I always love.

The ending, for me, delivered!

A lovely combination of mystery and horror. Not too graphic but spooky and suspenseful in all the right ways. Sam Haysom is definitely an author I'll keep my eye on. 4.5 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley, Unbound Digital, and Sam Haysom for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book! It took me less than a full day to read it and as a parent of 4 kids that is no easy feat. I just had to know what was going to happen next. I enjoyed the parallel narratives between present and past. These were characters that I cared about and wanted to know what was going on with. I look forward to reading more from Sam Haysom and highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good creepy story.

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Really enjoyed reading this novel from Sam. The storyline veered from where I was expecting, but kept me hooked throughout. A great suspenseful horror

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A group of boys sets off on a camping trip with the father of one of the boys. Mr. Stevens is a mild-mannered man who seems to know his way through the wild moors. The boys are excited, but nervous too, the ghost stories they tell around the campfire are rooted in truth. Many people have disappeared or been found murdered out there. And when there worst nightmares begin coming to life and the boys begin to disappear, where can they turn for help? A super creepy story (there are some parts that will be difficult for animal lovers), this has the potential for a sequel.

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A very well written atmospheric read that combines different genres in an engrossing way, The Moor starts as a ghost story that turns into a horror novel and closes with an unexpected twist. It tells the story of a group of teenage boys who go for a hike in a national park. First, they tell ghost stories around the campfire. Then, they go to sleep in their tents. In the desolate landscape. Alone. What could possibly go wrong? One by one, the boys start disappearing and the only grownup seems unequipped to deal with the situation. It would be a pity to give away what happens next, but the story goes back and forth in time. Two of the boys are taking a trip in 2015, so they obviously survived whatever happened but what about the rest of the party? Also, what do the newspaper clippings that appear throughout the book have to do with anything? I must say that I couldn't read several of them dealing with animal torture. Yes, I had no trouble reading about teenagers being murdered but, hey, that's just me. The characters are a little stereotypical, but once the novel reaches its conclusion, many things make sense and the story blew me away. A terrifying and quick read.

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In 2002 five teenage boys, Gary, James, Tom, Matt, and Tim leave for Rutmoor on a hiking trip with their leader Mr. Stevens but not all of them make it out alive. What begins as a ghost story around the campfire turns into something much more terrifying. It begins with strange noises in the night and mutilated animals on the trail but then one of the boys goes missing. Stranded halfway between civilization and isolation, the boys trek on in hopes of finding their friend or reaching help...but there is something on the Moor...and it’s hungry.

The Moor begins with several news clippings dating back to the 1950's revealing a history of animal mutilation, missing children, and dead bodies on the moor. The novel then jumps to present day (2015), as James one of the survivors of the Rutmoor hiking trip recounts the events of that fateful trip and prepares to return to the moor. The novel shifts between several different POV's as the frightening events of the Rutmoor hike unfold while past news clippings continue to reveal past incidents. The Moor is characteristic of classic boogeyman tales in which a horrific monster with a hunger for children and small animals returns to a location every so many years to feed and then disappear again. This is a quick, entertaining novel for fans of monster horror. My only complaint with this novel is that the writing style felt geared towards a much younger audience at some points. I think many of the characters, being early teen boys, would be more relatable to a younger audience and might be better marketed as the YA genre instead.

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This isn't a book that I would normally rave about, so.....yeah, I'm not about to start here. Truth is that I've read this story many times in all its different incarnations. Yet, I was glued to the pages! Mr. Haysom did an excellent job of keeping me curious. The big bad in this story is something that I wish he'd spent a bit more time on, but again...The strangulation scenes were just freaking scary as hell. I would like to come back to this author and see how he develops. Like I said the story had me "by the throat." But, I'd like to let a few books build up, and then see how it goes. The man has potential. I wasn't quite sure if he was going for Y.A., or scare the bejeezum outta me, adult. I do like clear delineation. All in all, it was a great story. My thanks to Unbound publishing and Netgalley.

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The book begins with newspaper clippings spanning several years that show why Rutmoor National Park may well be a place to avoid. Over the decades there have been quite a few deaths and disappearances. Sometimes bodies are found.. sometimes people just vanish without a trace.
The story moves back and forth between the present day, when someone (I was not sure who at first) recollects a camping trip in Rutmoor over a decade ago and the events of that trip when he, along with a small group of 13 year old boys and one of their dads were spending a weekend walking through Rutmoor and camping there. The story is occasionally interrupted by further news clippings concerning mutilated pets. This all added to my confusion a bit and I wasn't sure I wanted to keep bouncing back and forth between the present day and that long ago weekend. It wasn't until I was over 20% through the book that it began to pique my interest, and what had begun as a slower build up than I normally enjoy held me captivated. I'm glad I stuck with it. I think you will be too.

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