Archive | February, 2018

Van has finished reading…Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley

20 Feb

devils day

I do like it when a book turns out not to be what you thought it would be – at least not entirely anyway. The opening chapter of Andrew Michael Hurley’s Devil’s Day is good old-fashioned atmosphere all the way, pushing all the buttons the ominous-looking cover has already tweaked. But then it turns in the next chapter, it settles into the longer story, into what at times feels almost like a social history and I start to wonder what this book really is. Of course those buttons then get pushed all over again and by now I’m starting to wonder where the bad apple will be found. It’s all rather pleasing!

The writing itself fits nicely together, with that storyteller voice from the first chapter surfacing again and again, weaving the lesser fictions into the greater one and above all else it reminded me just how much stories are histories in their own way, and that history is just as much a fiction sometimes as anything Granny revealed in words at the fireside.

If you’re of a writerly persuasion yourself you’ll be particularly interested in the second chapter, which is a peach of a lesson on showing-not-telling.


There’s some lovely character work going on too with the central family, whose surname, Pentecost, is a nice touch. The dynamics are excellent and really draw you in, and there’s not a little delight in how your view of each of them subtly (and possibly not-so-subtly at times) shifts. I particularly like the way the narration alters. There’s a point where you suddenly feel as though you’ve been led into a place from which there is no escape, and being on the inside, being in the know is really uncomfortable. Of course it also underlines the protagonist’s early admission that he’s ‘acquired a reputation for telling stories just like the Gaffer’, his grandfather. If that’s not code for ‘trust at your peril’.

Andrew Michael Hurley’s Devil’s Day is an ideal winter read. A joyous blending of small community everyday struggles and super creepy atmosphere. Pull up the duvet, ignore the creeping shadows and immerse yourself in the murk and mystery.


Devil’s Day was published by John Murray on 19th October 2017 ISBN:9781473619869

I couldn’t find Andrew on Twitter, or at his website. Perhaps he’s up on the moor, looking for a stray, or down at Far Lodge tap tap tapping out a tale just like The Gaffer used to tell.


My thanks to Emma Petfield at Hodder for allowing me to review this book.