“The man on the landing at the top of the stairs is dead. . . . Could I have done anything for him? Possibly. Should I have done anything for him? Definitely not. He was a Hater, and it’s scum like him that have caused all of this. . . . They’re the reason I’ve had to lock myself and my family in the apartment.”
David Moody creates a book that exults in the paranoia atmosphere created when a small percentage of the population suddenly turn into violent murders. Danny McCoyne is helpless as his city slowly begins to fall apart when people suddenly, and for no apparent reason, turn into raging murderers.
Remember, if you are interested in this book, click the mouse on the book cover to order it from an online bookseller.
HATER: A NOVEL
by David Moody
Paranoia, Violence, Rage, Sudden Violence, Fear, End of Civilization, War, Police, Government,
Daniel “Danny” McCoyne, The narrator of the story.
Elizabeth “Liz” McCoyne, Danny’s wife.
Josh McCoyne, Danny and Liz’s oldest child.
Edward “Ed” McCoyne, Danny and Liz’s youngest child, a fraternal twin to Ellis.
Ellis McCoyne, Danny and Liz’s youngest child, a fraternal twin to Ed.
Harry, Liz’s father and Danny’s father-in-law who helps watch the kids.
Danny McCoyne is a man trapped in a job he hates with three unplanned for children, a wife as crushed by responsibilities as he is and a father-in-law who dislikes him. As bleak as things seem — they’re about to get a whole lot worse. It starts as one incident, on his way to work Danny witnesses a man attack an old lady, probably killing her, before he’s hauled off.
The sudden outbreaks of violence increase in number until soon the entire city is crippled by fear of a sudden vicious attack by a stranger, a neighbor or even a loved one. The attackers are given a name — haters — and they are reviled by the citizens who live in fear of them.
“I can’t show any emotion. I don’t want Harry thinking I’m a Hater.”
Danny hates the haters. He hates being afraid and fearing for his wife and kids. The government issues warnings and tells people to stay in their houses but they are silent in explaining what’s going on. And the silence is telling.
However, the threat is not exclusively from the Haters, for in a world where anyone can suddenly become a deadly enemy filled with rage, strong emotional states become suspect — as does the man or woman or child who displays them. . .
Hater is told in first person present tense limited omniscience — you see everything through Danny’s eyes. He speaks colloquially. You sometimes feel that you’re privy to his thoughts. The brief vignettes before each new day are the only exception.
The book is divided into major sections, each one being a day. Each day has a vignette opening the section and then the chapters following are Danny’s narrative of the day. The vignettes are in italics to set them apart from the rest of the story. Each one depicts a violent awakening of a hater, usually leading to one or more deaths. They run one to several pages long and are told in third person past tense limited omniscience — sometimes from the victims point of view, sometimes the hater and at least once from an eyewitness’ view point.
The pacing is quick. There is little time spent on descriptions. The bulk of the narrative is Danny trying to work out what’s going on or reporting what he’s doing and saying. Where Moody spends his time is detailing the course of Danny’s life before and during the disruption by the Haters. You become quite intimate with him by the time the final act begins.
“There’s nothing else to do now except sit back on the sofa in front of the TV and watch the world fall apart”
This novel is a work of slowly creeping paranoia that was delicious to read. It never frightened me but it toyed with my nerves. At times it made me uncomfortable and always it seemed to force me to question. It’s a novel of shades of gray — not absolute black and white. Moody invites you to follow along with Danny’s pronouncements and then flips the whole thing and makes you question what you believed — and just as you fall into line there he flips the whole thing again. By the end of the novel you know you have a lot to think about.
Hater is the first volume of The Hater Trilogy to be published by St. Martins Press. The next book will be Dog Blood.
David Moody has a deal with St. Martin’s Press to produce the Hater Trilogy as well as print his self-published series Autumn, a zombie series. After reading this book, I definitely want to try the rest of the books as they are published.
First person narrative horror stories in the present tense are rare but if you enjoy Hater, try Dark Harvest. You can see a summary of Dark Harvest here on . . . With Intent to Commit Horror.
(This post originally appeared on my blog about horror books called Horror Books with the Undead Rat.)