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I hadn't heard of Mo Hayder before so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book, but the cover persuaded me to give it a try. It wasn't the 'easiest' of reads, it does take a little effort, but it was worth reading for the creativity and plot.
Pig Island introduces us to Joe Oakes, a journalist who travels to Cuagach to debunk what he believes will be a hoax. On this remote Scottish Island, some dwellers believe that pigs are being used for satanic rituals, and furthermore, that they've seen the biforme, aka the devil himself. We also get to know a few other characters whilst Oakes is on the island, including Milachi Dove, a man Oakes has previously done a piece on. It seems that Oakes has extracated him from the wider community, apparently to set up a little religious cult on one side of the island. This island has been fractured because of this, with a wire fence separating the two halves; one seems to be the religious evil and pig slaughtering, whilst the other half is simply afraid and angry of the first half.
It seems the strange atmosphere, the 'discoveries', the devil on videotape and demarcation of the island has been enough to get Oakes' curiosity fully piqued. He sets out to explore the island and its strange goings-on, though what started off to be a hoax de-bunking is looking far more complex than he could have imagined.
The plot was interesting in that it had twists and unusual aspects, though I don't think the pieces always fitted the puzzle very well. At times it didn't seem very clear, which made reading it less easy. It wasn't just a case of getting confused over names and remembering what's happened, but trying to get your head around the 'twists' that seem to have been put in without full consideration of how believable they are or how much sense they make.
Because of the lack of directness and clarity, the depth of character also suffered; I didn't find myself really empathising with any one, and so I also didn't find myself particularly eager to keep reading about them to learn more. I could visualise some aspects of the scenes, but I can't say the characters or scenes were particularly vivid or were brought to live to the extent they could have been.
On the back reads a quote by Karin Slaughter (an author I really enjoy reading) : 'The most terrifying thriller you'll read all year'. Unfortunately I can't agree with this. Yes, there's plenty of deaths and mystery and cult style behaviours that are designed to represent the curious fears and interests we have with all things devil-related. However, it was the way in which it was written that unfortunately deflated the ability to really get lost in this book and to generate a tense atmosphere. It's not a book I'd be raving about, even though it may be worth a read to try out a new author and judge for yourself the mysteries of Pig Island (just don't expect it to be the 'most terrifying thriller' of the year).
I was recently very lucky to find this book at the local discount store. I had never read a Mo Hayder book before and really had no expectations. The book has a small set of characters making it easy to follow and even easier to enjoy while reading. I can't stand when there are 50 story lines to follow.
Characters in this book include, Oaksey the Journalist/Writer that is looking to break a huge story wide open. Lexie the wife of Oaksey and boy what a piece of work she is. Dove the great cult leader that got his start in fake healings. Angeline the daughter of Dove.
Oaksey is invited over to the island to get a story. He has no idea what kind of story they want to give him but he has other ideas. Having a past with Dove he wants a story about the long recluse Dove. Bringing out into the open what he has been doing on the island over the years.
After several encounters with what he thinks is Dove he is badly beaten and left for dead. Going home to his wife to be nursed back to health he waits till he can go back to the island sure that there is a story that is waiting to be told.
Going back to the island is not the happy ending that he was hoping for. Upon his return it seems that Dove having something to hide or to get even for has killed every one on the island. Everyone but his daughter and himself it seems.
Oaksey finding Angeline for the first time realizes that she is alone on the island and that her father has left her there amidst his carnage. He is instantly over come with the want to protect this poor child that has lived through hell. If he only knew how that desire would come back to bite him in the butt.
I have to say that have never having heard of this author I was pleasantly surprised. The ending has such a twist even I did not see it coming. Usually when I finish a book I find that they leave a desire for more info or the ending is just horrible and all my questions are left unanswered. With this book that was not the case. All points that were made in this book are all brought together at the end. I do have to say it was a great read and one that I am glad to say I have added to my collection.
This was the first book I had properly read for a few years.
Picked it up on the book swap shelf at work.
I must say that I could not put it down. The story focuses on the main character, Oaksey, who is a journalist and goes to a remote island off the coast of Scotland to try and uncover the truth about a video clip he has seen which shows some kind of tailed beast living on the island and killing all the pigs.
The story has some very grusome moments, and keeps you guessing all the way through.
He meets some rather strange characters on the island and then a big shocking event happens which changes everything. (Trying not to give the story away)
It starts to get really strange at the end when he goes back home taking a girl with him that he met on the island after the death of one of the other main characters.
I was quite disappointed with the ending of this story. I had to read it back a couple of times to really understand what happened as, to me, it was a bit of an anti-climax and the story finishes very abruptly on the last page. I did find that a bit disappointing and kept thinking of other ways the book should have ended.
Overall a good read and it has inspired me to read another Mo Hayder book, Tokyo.
Mo Hayder (2006)
'The most terrifying thriller you'll read all year' So sayeth Karin Slaughter on the book cover....well, I have gone off Karin Slaughter, but a decent enough recommendation for me to purchase said book, along wit two others for a fiver in the cheapy bookstore in Barnsley.
What's it all about Alfie?
Okay, we have a hard drinking (of course) minor journalist ('Oaksey') who specialises in uncovering and exposing hoaxes; religious and paranormal hoaxes especially. Some years before the setting of this book he exposed one 'Malachi Dove' who was peddling his own brand of 'healing'. Subsequently, Mr Malachi and a few followers purchased a small island off the Scottish coast and set up a commune come religious retreat.
Strange sightings, sounds and smells, culminating in a grainy video of a Devil like figure spark Oaksey's interest and off he trots up to Scotland for an 'investigation' with his wife in tow. Oaksey then hears tales from the mainlanders about devil worship, blood and remains being sighted and so on.
The island commune insist they have nothing to hide and invite Oaksey onto the island, an invitation he takes up with glee as he dearly wants to run into Malachi again and expose him again.
When he gets to the island he finds a happy but sheltered commune that live a strict life, he also discovers that Malachi, apparently gone quite mad, has been expelled from said commune and lives at the other end of the island....where the smells and sounds emanate from.
What is there? Does Oaksey expose a hoax or is something far more real at hand?
In truth, the pace of the book is good, as is the basic plot, there are plenty of surprises in store and that is good, along with a rather unexpected conclusion, I like that too.
I also like the fact that the author tells different parts of the story from different perspectives, with some chapters narrated by Oaksey, and others his wife.
There are some genuinely gory and shocking moments which is as it should be in a novel like this and plenty of red herrings. As well as the shock and gore (couldn't resist) there are some good insights into some of the characters which builds a nice story. We get quite descriptive writing where appropriate, and sparse writing where not needed.
Erm...and not so good?
Well, it aint terrifying let me tell you. Interesting yes, terrifying no.
There are parts of the book that seem quite amateurish, as if the author has been lazy in doing her research so just doesn't bother to expand on whole areas. This leads to a few 'leaps' where I was left thinking it was all a bit to clichéd.
Worth the 3 for a fiver deal but no more. An okay, keep by the side of the bed and read in three nights kinda novel. At nearly 500 pages, for me, it could have been a whole lot better, but not bad.
After reading mixed reviews of this and TOKYO (still on my to-be-read pile) recently, and these being the only two of her titles I hadn't yet investigated, I decided it was about time I picked these novels up.
All I can say in advance is that PIG ISLAND was far from what I had expected.....
Like a cross between THE WICKER MAN and James Herbert's HAUNTED, the novel tells the story of Joe Oakes; a free-lance journalist who specializes in exposing supernatural or religious hoaxes. Malachi Dove, a figure Joe has investigated once before a long time ago, has set up a religious community off the scottish coast on what has become known over the centuries as Pig Island. Amidst stories of strange smells, videotape "evidence" of some kind of devil on the island and rumours of satanism and witchcraft being performed there, Joe sets off for the island with the intention of writing a story that may shed some of the mystery and local urban myth.
But right from the start, Joe finds himself getting drawn further in than he at first intended especially as he becomes increasingly more obsessed with Malachi Dove who appears to have removed himself (or been evicted) from the remainder of the community. When Joe discovers a piece of the island shut off from the community by a lengthy wire fence (observed by CCTV cameras along it's perimeter), his curiosity becomes piqued and his next actions provoke a deadly series of events that soon conspire to spiral his life out of all control.
Some people reading this have absolutely slated it. Others like myself, throughly enjoyed it but it looks, at first glance on Amazon, that we may be in the minority. That doesn't bother me, I'm used to going against popular opinion but I do think that those who are quick to condemn it are not giving the novel fair credit where credit is due.
Compared to her more recent RITUAL, I found PIG ISLAND a compelling and compulsive thriller with a neat little twist in the tail that, unlike some reviewers (well, well done them!) I didn't see coming and wasn't really expecting. Some of the action on the island felt a little dull but thankfully this doesn't last for long before things start kicking off. The varying viewpoint (at a couple of times, we see events from the perspective of Joe's estranged wife) keeps the story fresh and adds another angle and all-in-all I found this a fairly comprehensive thriller that didn't fail to disappoint!!
Joe Oakes is not an easy character to like- he comes over as a bit of a cold-hearted paparazzi at first- but you cannot help but feel a little bit of empathy towards him as the plot progresses. In fact, none of the characters are instantly likeable but somehow as you follow their story that doesn't seem to be important. I am sure that there is a deeper message being underlined here but if there is it passed straight over my head.
Reading RITUAL, I had begun to wonder if my memory was at fault and I had given BIRDMAN and THE TREATMENT (her first two novels) too much credit and maybe over-estimated them. Reading this novel, I am prompted to recall just what it was that made those books so great and reading them so enjoyable!!!
Would I recommend this.....? Yes I would. Should you listen to the negative reviews...? No, you shouldn't.
Should you listen to me....? No, you shouldn't either!!
So, what should you do....?
Read this yourself and make your own mind up!!!! After all, this is only my opinion but I think this book is a bit of an alright!!
Journalist Joe Oakes makes a living exposing supernatural hoaxes. A born sceptic, he believes everything has a rational explanation. But when he visits a secretive religious community on a remote Scottish island, everything he thought he knew is overturned. Questions mount: Why has the community been accused of Satanism? What has happened to their leader, Pastor Malachi Dove? And perhaps most important, why will no one discuss the strange apparition seen wandering the lonely beaches of Pig Island? Their confrontation, and its violent and bloody aftermath, is so catastrophic that it forces Oaksey to question the nature of evil, and whether he might not be responsible for the terrible crime about to unfold. In this compulsive and haunting novel, Mo Hayder dares her readers to face their fears head on and to think about the unspeakable things people can do to each other.