A Review of David Moody's Hater.

Abraham Lincoln the Zombie approves

 

"Hater," by David Moody was selected as freedombookclub.com's Book of the Month for October 2010.  It was recommended to the club by participant and horror novelist Wayne Simmons.

 

The main character is Danny McCoyne, a low level municipal employee who processes parking ticket payments.  McCoyne witnesses a brutal murder one day on his way to work, where a man murders a woman by repeatedly stabbing her with his umbrella.  The whole scene made me think of the British sit-com "Are You Being Served," with Mr. Peacock (being played by Elvis Costello in my mind) as the murderer in a bowler hat, and flowered boutonniere.  McCoyne relates the story to a couple of his co-workers, and like that, rumors start spreading about seemingly random killings around the country.

McCoyne returns home to his wife and kids.  Family life is a bit of a strain on McCoyne, as he struggles to make ends meet in his capacity as a civil servant, and father of several children.  But he has managed to squirrel enough money together to take his wife out on the town for a concert of one of his favorite bands.  But whilst at the show, Mr. and Mrs. McCoyne witness the unthinkable: The star of the show bludgeons one of his band mates to death with a guitar, and bedlam ensues as everyone evacuates the venue.

The television reports of the violence are leading some to suspect that the violence is spreading due to copycat actions of mindless, gutless hooligans.  Others seem to suspect that the cause of the violence is a disease, with a smattering of a conspiracy behind the outbreak.  The violence continues to spread causing great unease in the McCoyne household, and society in general:

"There's a strange atmosphere everywhere today.  Everyone seems to be on edge.  No one seems certain about anything anymore.  Everybody seems to be thinking twice about everything they do and worrying more about what everyone else is doing.  Our ordinary lives and the day-to-day routine suddenly feel more complicated than they did before and yet I'm still not even sure if anything's actually changed."

Soon the neighbors of the McCoyne family are killing each other outside their apartment building, and even their neighbors upstairs have ended up in a bloody heap.

Moody takes his time to develop McCoyne, so that you understand his mindset.  However, Danny changes, and when the change occurs, the story roars off like a Triumph motorcycle with a modified exhaust.  A major calamity has engulfed mankind, with two forces squaring off against each other; the haters and the hated.  Which side is Danny on?  Yours, or theirs?

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