Some of the negative reviews describe this book as "strange" and I would agree with that another candidly states" nothing significant happens, never mind eerie" and a third makes the very unflattering comment "it was like reading a soap" I think that all the negative reviews have entirely missed the point of this astounding work of literary fiction. The story does not have to be fast moving, it does not have to have pages filled with action and movement and it is certainly much more than "a boys story of going on a religious pilgrimage"
I was fascinated and enthralled from the first page, as I was transported to a wild, rugged and lonely Lancastrian coast where the quietness and isolation of this god forsaken location instantly created a feeling of dread, fear and approaching evil. The beauty and loneliness of the surroundings was reflected so expertly in the reflective and creative writing style of the author. His command of the English language and his ability to paint a picture by his choice of phrases and words is simply unmatched in anything I have ever read......
"Like the shadow of a huge predatory bird, darkness moved slowly down the hillside, past Moorings, across the marshes, across the beach, across the sea, until all that was left was a muddy orange on the horizon as the last of England's light ebbed away."
"The wind came rushing in off the sea, sweeping its comb through the scrubby grass and sending a shiver through the vast pools of standing water."
"It was an albino, with eyes that looked as if they had been marinated in blood."
The narrator (we only ever get to know his nickname Tonto) his brother Hanny together with "Mummer" and "Farther" embark on their annual pilgrimage to a sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney. They are hoping that their faith will result in a cure for Hanny who is unable to speak. The Loney is a place of superstition and fear of hauntings and evil amongst a population equally eccentric and unpredictive in their behaviour. The beliefs and religious participation of all the characters we encounter is in wonderful contrast to the "Wicker Man" style rituals that fill the lives of the residents.
The horror is not what is said or done but in the implied which creates a magic visionary picture and in the final chapters uncovering a murder that had remained hidden for many years.The Loney is a great example of what is really important in both the writing and reading of a book. A good story should have the ability not only to entertain but to make you feel a part of the events unfolding before you, transporting you from the ordinary and mundane to the intellectual thoughts of the author. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and thanks to the good people of netgalley for the free copy I received in exchange for an honest review, and that is what I have written.