HATER (Hater #1)
by David Moody
RELEASE DATE: Sept 2009
FORMAT: Paperback, 263 pages
Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened ‘Haters’ by the media, the attackers strike without warning. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people are becoming maddened, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, and then thousands, right across the country.
Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, sexuality or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim – or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with murderous intent. By the end of today you could be dead. By the end of today you could be a killer. Attack first, ask questions later …but the answer might not be what you expect… (Goodreads)
I have read and really enjoyed the first three books in Moody’s Autumn zombies series, so I was really looking forward to reading HATER. Although it’s not a zombie novel, I wanted to delve into another Moody book as I love his cinematic writing style, and I find that I can get into and read his books pretty easily. The fact that HATER was a holiday read (while in the Lake District with the rain pouring down outside the window) I thought it would be the perfect read.
After the first chapter, I knew that HATER wasn’t of the same calibre as the Autumn books, I found it harder to get into and when put down there wasn’t that need to pick it up again. Having said that, HATER isn’t a bad read. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. The tension I enjoyed so much in the Autumn books isn’t as profound and the characters aren’t as likeable. In fact the characters in HATER are downright unlikeable, until the very end.
Danny is a husband and father to two children. They live in a block of flats in an apartment too small, but it’s all they can afford. He has a job he hates and a boss he dislikes even more. So, to him his life is pretty crap. One morning while on his way to work he witnesses an old woman being beaten and stabbed by a young man, with seemingly no provocation. It is just the beginning to hundreds of similar attacks that take place.
I liked Danny, for the first couple of chapters, but then his whining kicked in. He is all ‘woe is me’ and I found that hard going after a while. This guy had a family, a job and money coming in, albeit not a lot of it, but it irritated me that the author didn’t offer us something that showed Danny’s appreciation for at least his wife and his children. This changes somewhat near the end of the novel, so I’m looking forward to this aspect to Danny in subsequent books.
Lizzie, Danny’s wife, is just as bad. They seem to argue all the time, I never see any tender moments between them or their children, which made this family a little depressing, but maybe that was the authors intention. As the violence increases to the point where people are too scared to leave their homes or go to work, I was hoping this would bring them together and we’d see the love they have for one another, but if it was there it was very subtle.
The story is pretty original, but it didn’t really give me a sense of foreboding or suspense. I understood that anyone could turn a Hater, but I didn’t get that hair raising feeling, but the thought that it could be a member of your own family was unsettling. What the story may have lacked in tension, was full of gruesome imagery. Moody uses his incredible talent for action, and the violence feels very real. Some of the passages are quite harrowing…
There’s a scream. Christ, it’s a bloody horrible sound and it cuts right through me. People stop moving and look around for the source of the noise. I can see a woman on the ground just behind me. She’s lying in the middle of the aisle covering her face with her hands. I try not to stare but I can’t help myself.
Someone shuffles out of the way and I can see that there’s a child attacking her. A girl of maybe eight or nine, no older, is virtually sitting on top of her, punching her and pulling her hair. Jesus, in one hand she’s got a tin of food and she’s using it to batter the woman. She lands the tin on her forehead and it immediately swells up in a bloody red welt. The woman is screaming and crying and… and bloody hell, she’s shouting out the girl’s name. Is she being beaten by her own daughter?
For a fraction of a second I think that I should help her but I know that I can’t. None of us can risk getting involved. Everyone seems to have come to the same conclusion. Everyone is shocked by what they can see but on-one does anything to help. People cautiously edge forward and work their way around the fight to get out of the building as quickly as they can and I keep walking with them. The woman’s out cold now but the kid is still pummelling her face. She’s covered in her mother’s blood…
The one aspect I LOVED about HATER, which I cannot talk about as it’s a real spoiler, I didn’t see coming until it was on top of me. This amazing twist in the tale is my favourite part of the novel. It really turned everything on its head and gave HATER a much needed boost. I’m excited to see how the story evolves from here.
HATER isn’t the best book I’ve read by Moody, but, as usual, he offers us lots of action and violence, and brilliant cinematic writing. The twist in HATER was the best part of the novel for me and one of the most unpredictable twists I’ve read in a long time. I’m now very intrigued to read Dog Blood.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Dog Blood
- Them or Us
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