“Starve Acre” by Andrew Michael Hurley

Thanks to John Murray Press and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this author on the Guardian Books Podcast and have some of his books unread on my Kindle. I’ve also seen Book Twitter raving about it so what better excuse to read a spooky book in the fine month of October.

I was somewhat disappointed straight off the bat when I realised this was another of what I call an ‘angsty guy with a dead kid’ novel. The last one of these I read was In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey which coincedentally is also about an oblivious academic type who denies everything weird that is happening despite being a first person observer to the supernatural events.

I’m maybe being a bit harsh because I did actually quite enjoy this book. The setting of a parochial, superstitious village was interesting enough but I felt the characters were a little one dimensional and it wasn’t quite creepy enough for me. The ending was killer though so that redeemed things for me a bit.

I dunno, I know lots of people loved this book and it’s really perfectly fine but it just felt a bit tropey and meh. A nice spooky little read but nothing particularly original or new here. I actually think it might have worked better as a short story rather than a full length novel.

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