When I initially received Last Days by Adam Neville, I was completely skeptical from the book’s description. How could they pull off a book in a “Blair Witch Project” style setting? There’s no way it could plausibly be that interesting or really drag you into the story right? That’s what I felt but I’ll always be the first to admit when I’m wrong and this is one of those cases. Adam Neville was able to bring forth a story with realistic characters that seemed to come alive off the page in a way that dragged you right in.
In Last Days we are being told about a documentary that the central character Kyle Freeman is working on. It is a documentary about The Temple of the Last Days which was a cult that came to a bloody end in Arizona in 1975. The cult’s bloody ending came with the death of their leader Sister Katherine and the majority of her followers. Kyle and his cameraman Dan have been hired by the owner of a media company who thinks that making a documentary on the cult would sell quite well to their viewers and as Kyle is in need of the money he goes in on it.
The two begin their documentary by tracking down the few remaining survivors of the cult. As interviews slowly come together you can feel a force of evil practically clawing out of the shadows in your room. As the interviews progress we begin to know more about the supernatural that the cult was trying to explore and the events mentioned appear to be manifesting. The buildup of possible paranormal infestation is subtle yet effective at drawing you in wanting to know more.
The further in you go the more you start questioning if the cult actually ended with the death of Sister Katherine. Seemingly supernatural occurrences continue piling up and the descriptions will have you wanting to leave the lights on at night.
With all of that praise I will admit that upon completion this not a perfect novel. There are two points I’m going to have to comment on. While the first half of the book does an amazing job at drawing you with the perfect mix of action, suspense, and plot you quickly read through it not being able to put it down and get to a section of pure exposition.
The exposition isn’t bad, but the story almost drags too much for a bit before coming to an ending that is action packed until the last few pages. Once we hit the very end of the novel is where my true gripe is because the last few pages are either going to be very fitting or an extreme let down.
Personally, and I hate having to say it with how much I loved the novel, but I felt the ending was a true let down to the readers. Adam Neville can create a world of suspense in the likes of Stephen King with action to boot. The only problem in this specific novel was the follow through felt a little rushed and some of Kyle’s actions near the end were not fully in line with how he had presented himself up to this point. That being said, this is an original take on the classic ghost story in novel form. It’s a fun read and the suspense he is able to craft is truly a work of art.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this novel for review purposes.