Allison & Busby | 2020 (20 February) | 384p | Review copy | Buy the book
One morning, milkman Phil Pepper has the shock of his life. He discovers a naked man soaked in blood, his behaviour wild and terrifying, the name of a demon carved into his stomach flesh – Baal-Berith. Professor Matt Hunter, a former minister and now an atheist and an expert on satanism and the supernatural, is called in by the police. He tells them that Baal-Berith is the demonic spirit of blasphemy and murder and therefore it should come as no surprise when a body is discovered, horribly killed. The media and the public are fascinated by the case and a debate begins about demons, possession and exorcism. Matt becomes caught up in a frenzy that spins out of control, but he is determined to help those who believe themselves possessed, striving to remain the voice of reason, even when he is tested to his very limits.
I am such a huge fan of the Matt Hunter series and I couldn’t wait to read Possessed, the fourth. The books all work brilliantly as a series, and there is a pleasure in watching Matt Hunter’s story develop, but each novel can be read and enjoyed on its own. I do suggest you read them all though. They’re fantastic books.
Possessed is genuinely thrilling and extremely disturbing in such a good way. The opening is brilliant and the dark and chilling mood doesn’t ease for an instant, while the pace and thrills build and build to such an extent that I found this book ridiculously difficult to put down. It’s one of the most gripping novels I’ve read for a while, while also being one of the most frightening. Some of the ‘clients’ in this book are truly horrifying, not least because sometimes they seem just like you and me.
Matt Hunter is a great character and one of the reasons why these books are so successful is because Matt is such a likeable and warm person. He’s been through trauma, and he’s working through that with his lovely family, but he always thinks of others first, even when this gets him into serious danger. I love the way that Peter Laws brings Matt alive. The dialogue is often wonderfully funny and provides such a contrast to the other moments of terror.
Possessed is a fantastically written, witty and involving novel, that’s both horror and crime, the two working together very well indeed. It has an incredible story and a terrific hero. I’ve loved all of these books but, if forced to choose between them, I think Possessed could well be my favourite. This series is unmissable.