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Books Editorial

devilsday.jpg Devil’s Day

Andrew Michael Hurley, John Murray

Andrew Michael Hurley ran a few fingers up a few spines with his unsettling debut novel The Loney in 2016, and he’s at it again with his latest slice of folk horror which is set among the rather desolate farming community in the Lancashire uplands. After a preamble relating to the story of Devil’s Day – an annual tradition whereby the community tempt the devil down into their midst in order to keep him from harming their flock – the narrative begins with John Pentecost returning to his family farm, along with his pregnant wife Katherine. John has made his life away from the community but on return, after the death of the patriarch, he submits to the pull of tradition and feels that his future lies away from his current teaching job and back on the farm. Katherine is not so keen, particularly when she is plagued by an awful stench that the others cannot smell. As with The Loney the landscape is memorably evoked here, and the horror comes on almost imperceptibly – slowly but inexorably – before it’s got you in its grip; like frostbite.