Hater: A Novel (Hater series)

David Moody

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Riffle Horror

almost 4 years ago

"He was a Hater, and it's scum like him that have caused all of this. . . . They're the reason I've had to lock myself and my family in the apartment.”

Danny McCoyne is a man trapped in a job he hates with three unplanned children, a wife as crushed by responsibilities as he is and a father-in-law who dislikes him. As bleak as things seem -- they're about to get a whole lot worse.

The sudden outbreaks of inexplicable violence increase in number until soon the entire city is crippled by fear of a sudden vicious attack by a stranger, a neighbor or even a loved one. The attackers are given a name -- haters -- and they are reviled by the citizens who live in fear of them.

Danny hates the haters. He hates being afraid and fearing for his wife and kids. The government issues warnings and tells people to stay in their houses but they are silent in explaining what's going on. And the silence is telling.

However, the threat is not exclusively from the Haters, for in a world where anyone can suddenly become a deadly enemy filled with rage, strong emotional states become suspect -- as does the man or woman or child who displays them. . .

Hater is told in first person present tense limited omniscience -- you see everything through Danny's eyes. He speaks colloquially. You sometimes feel that you're privy to his thoughts.

The brief vignettes before each new day are the only exception. They are in italics to set them apart from the rest of the story. Each one depicts a violent awakening of a hater, usually leading to one or more deaths. They run one to several pages long and are told in third person past tense limited omniscience — sometimes from the victims point of view, sometimes the hater and at least once from an eyewitness’ view point.

The pacing is quick. There is little time spent on descriptions. The bulk of the narrative is Danny trying to work out what's going on or reporting what he's doing and saying. Where Moody spends his time is detailing the course of Danny's life before and during the disruption by the Haters. You become quite intimate with him by the time the final act begins.

This novel is a work of slowly creeping paranoia that was delicious to read. It never frightened me but it toyed with my nerves like a teasing harlot. At times it made me uncomfortable and always it seemed to force me to question. It's a novel of shades of gray — not absolute black and white.

Moody invites you to follow along with Danny's pronouncements and then flips the whole thing and makes you question what you believed -- and just as you fall into line there he flips the whole thing again. By the end of the novel you know you have a lot to think about.