”When Indie filmmaker, Kyle Freeman, is offered a deal to make a documentary about a notorious cult, an opportunity to avoid both bankruptcy and obscurity is finally on the table.
Led by the infamous Sister Katherine, The Temple of the Last Days reached its bloody endgame in the Arizona desert in 1975. Ever since, rumour and speculation about the group’s mystical secrets and paranormal experiences have lain half-concealed behind a legacy of murder, sexual deviancy and imprisonment. The shoot’s locations take Kyle and his one-man crew to the cult’s original bases in London, France and finally to the desert crime scene where the cult self-destructed in a night of ritualistic violence. But when Kyle interviews the remaining survivors, who haven’t broken silence in decades, a series of uncanny events and unexplained phenomena plaque the production. And what exactly is it they are managing to record in any place the Temple once resided?
Troubling out-of-body experiences and nocturnal visitations, the sudden demise of their interviewees and the discovery of ghastly artefacts soon pitches Kyle into the unnerving realization that he is entangled in the cult’s hideous vestiges.”
Last Days is a 531 pages novel written by the British author Adam Nevill and is well-known for his supernatural horror stories. As the back cover says above, Last Days is about a man named Kyle who has achieved a lot in the past through his indie films, but is now having a debt to pay. He gets a great but suspicious offer to create another film by an old man called Max Solomon, but this film project of his leads him into dark places he’d rather never have seen.
I quite enjoyed this book, especially because of how fast I managed to finish such a long novel which is quite unusual for me. First of all the story had a great character design. Almost every character was described with much detail and the reader was shown both positive and negative sides of the characters which made it all seem much more realistic. The book shows the strengths and weaknesses of each person, and there’s a great character development throughout the story.
The topic ‘cults’ was spot-on, and as the main character interacts with more and more people, more information about the cult in the story is found out, and therefore the reader keeps wanting to know more. It was such an interesting way of portraying the topic that I just couldn’t stop reading. I just needed to know more.
As for the horror genre, the novel fits great. It had a nice use of elements of fear. The story was pretty much based on fears like the fear of the dark and the fear of an intruder, without these being used as in kids’ horror. The scares (I’d almost go for saying jump scares even though it’s a book) and the revelations throughout the story were perfectly timed, and there were even moments where I’d shake in fear and anticipation for what would come next. This was probably also caused by how much suspense the story contained.
My favorite thing about this novel is probably the fact that it is almost like a mockumentary in book-form, and I must admit that I’m a sucker for mockumentaries. The fact that Kyle went around to all the places in the novel while filming it and especially the fact that he could watch everything he’d seen on film later, made the story great and somewhat original.
If I’d have to mention something I didn’t like about the story, it would be the fact that the author seems like he’s bragging about his knowledge of film making. At one of the first pages before the story begins, the author mentions how he studied the art of film making to write this book, and through the whole story he writes, what I’d say, too much information about cameras, film programs, lenses etc. I’m pretty sure no one actually thinks about every possible detail there is about a camera every time they look at it. I for sure don’t. It kind of ruins the flow of the story sometimes.
But that’s really not much negative feedback of the story, so go ahead and read it, if you would like to be frightened out of your good skin and at the same time emerge into an amazing story of the cult The Temple of the Last Days. From the same author I can also recommend his novel The Ritual which is also a supernatural horror story.
Last Days by Adam Nevill (English), 531 pages, Macmillan