Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

And here we are, back at Monday once more. I took yesterday off because it was Sunday and on that day, I do absolutely nothing. Seriously, lazy as my cat. But now I’m back for the end of my first week here, and I may have saved the best for last.

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Title: Little Heaven {496 pgs}

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Summary:

A trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers…and it wants them all.

Last year, I dedicated most of October to rereading It, the book that brought about my terror of clowns and Stephen King. It’s also one of my favorite books by him, and it’s the one that always calls to me when I walk by the bookshelf. It was right around then that NetGalley approved my request for Little Heaven, and I rushed through It as fast as I could so I could get to Nick Cutter.

Micah Shughrue, Minerva Atwater, and Ebenezer Elkins are three mercenaries that have come together by the strangest circumstances. They don’t trust each other – which is a good habit for a mercenary, I suppose – but they work together to infiltrate Little Heaven and check on a woman’s nephew who was dragged there by his father. Little Heaven is a settlement run by the great Amos Fletcher, a Jim Jones-type who believes that he speaks to God and has founded the perfect town. But even he can’t ignore the children going missing and then coming back…less than themselves.

Like I said before, I had just finished reading It when I started this one, and what a great October I had! Little Heaven is creepy and just plain weird, and spans nearly fifteen years. Shug, Minny, and Eb have done well in their respective lines of work, and then each of them gets a chance at something that they want, mainly a chance at getting out of jail and staying away from those who wish them harm.

Oh man, oh man, these characters. These characters. Shug is quiet and intelligent, and while he’s excellent at his job, he doesn’t seem to care much for it. He’s the kind of guy I imagine settling down on a farm, raising a couple of kids, and not talking much about his past because it’s the past. I guess what I mean to say is that Shug is a nice guy for a mercenary. Is that a good compliment?

Eb the Englishman is…something else. I’m trying to put him into words and I just…can’t. He’s loud and brash and polite and sarcastic and funny. He calls everyone out for their racism {because most of this is written in the 60s and in small towns in America} and then laughs at them when they get angry. He’s cold and unflinching when it comes to his job, and that does eventually land him in some trouble.

The trouble? My favorite, Minny. A young girl with no family to speak of {her father was murdered the same day her brother was eaten by a snake…yeah, a snake}, she decides to become a mercenary in hopes that it will lead her to her father’s murderer. While it does, she finds herself in another bind when she finally meets the killer. But more than her killing, Minny is brave and smart, but doesn’t hesitate to show how terrified she is by killing people and the things that are happening around Little Heaven. She never falls into the mothering role or gets left behind while the men go check things out, and I loved it. I loved that she insisted on being as brave as everyone else and pushed people around with her tiny weight. She was awesome, and I know that’s a good compliment.

The citizens of Little Heaven – and the settlement itself – are also wonderful characters. These people followed Amos Fletcher {who I couldn’t stop picturing in a rhinestone jumpsuit} into the middle of nowhere based on their belief that he would create the perfect place for them to raise their children. Even when everything goes awry and the children are disappearing into the woods, these people still believe in him because, well, hell, Amos Fletcher is convincing. I knew he was a complete jerk and still I found myself being all, well, yeah, Amos Fletcher, that does sound like a wonderful way to live! Like, you got me, Amos, you butthead.

This is one of those books that I’m going to pick up in twenty years and be like, oh my god, I love this book, I have to dedicate an entire month to reading it. Honestly, move this one up to the top of your reading list. You can thank me later.

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