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Little Heaven: A Novel
     

Little Heaven: A Novel

4.0 3
by Nick Cutter
 

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An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down...old-school horror at its best.”

From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of

Overview

An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down...old-school horror at its best.”

From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and Stephen King’s It, in which 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/04/2016
Cutter (The Deep) portrays three very damaged people trying to do good in this disturbing tale, which is elevated by illustrations by Adam Gorham. When Micah Shughrue wakes up to find his daughter missing, he’s terrified that a darkness from his past has come to claim her, so he enlists his former colleagues Minerva Atwater and Ebenezer Elkins to go back to the place that nearly broke them 15 years before: Little Heaven, a religious compound in the wilds of New Mexico that’s run by the slimy Rev. Amos Flesher. Flash back from 1980 to 1965, when the trio of mercenaries take a job to find Nate, a young boy who has been taken to Little Heaven. Just getting there is fraught with danger: dead birds fall from the sky, and the three investigators are chased by nightmarish creatures. Micah, Minerva, and Eb want to help the children at Little Heaven, but at what cost? Micah and his associates (calling them friends would be a stretch) are easy to root for, and horror fans yearning for the days of over-the-top stomach-churning gorefests will be darkly delighted. (Jan.)
—Paul Tremblay
Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven is a sprawling epic that can stand alongside the best of 80's King, Barker, and McCammon. It pits the coolest and most unlikely bounty hunters against an old time religious cult and the ickiest creation this side of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Fun, nasty, smart, and scary, and in all the right places.”
—Robert McCammon
“A gripping and terrifying story delivered by a very talented writer. Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven is an intense experience, and one not to be missed!”
—Seanan McGuire
“A slow boil of unrelenting terror and inescapable consequences. Nick Cutter ups his game every time. Beautifully written—menace drips from every page.”
—Clive Barker on THE DEEP
"Utterly terrifying."
—Ania Ahlborn
"If you aren't claustrophobic now, you will be after reading The Deep. Terror at its best!"
—Suspense Magazine on THE DEEP
"Provides an unshakable haunting....Recommended for lovers of horror and books that make you question your sanity."
—STEPHEN KING on THE TROOP
“THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night.”
—SCOTT SMITH
“Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing.”
—Mira Grant
“Nick Cutter brings a bone-chilling spin to a classic horror scenario in THE TROOP. It's Lord of the Flies meets Night of the Creeps, and I enjoyed it immensely.”
—Jonathan Maberry
“Nick Cutter pulls out all the stops in THE TROOP. This is a brilliant and deeply disturbing novel that you absolutely cannot put down. Highly recommended.”
—Christopher Golden
“A grim microcosm of terror and desperation…haunting.”
—San Francisco Chronicle on THE TROOP
"Resembling something like Deliverance as imagined by David Cronenberg."
Toronto Star
“Terrifying… exceptionally well-written and gripping. Moreover, [the novel] wears its dark heart on its sleeve, illuminating our collective need to unpack the evil of our world—to observe it, challenge it, and ultimately learn to live with it, without going insane. A superbly-crafted epic, Little Heaven proves yet again that [Nick] Cutter is worthy of Stephen King’s praise—King once called Cutter’s writing “old-school horror at its best”—and is a tribute to the genre as a whole. Deeply, deeply unsettling, as it’s meant to be.”
Cemetery Dance
"Little Heaven is the first major horror novel of 2017, and it’s going to take a monumental deluge of quality horror to keep it off of those end-of-year best-of lists that will start popping up 11 months from now….[Cutter’s] developed a clear, strong voice through his body of work. His characters are complex and relatable…they live and breathe within the context of the novel; many of them walking that shaky tightrope between good and bad, sympathetic and irredeemable….Little Heaven is another excellent addition to Nick Cutter’s growing body of work, a grotesque masterpiece that sets the bar high for horror fiction in 2017."
Booklist (starred review)
“Cutter proves yet again that he is a master of thoughtful pulp horror….drips with dread from the very first lines. With its claustrophobic, isolated setting, gory details, and strong action sequences, this book is sure to win over horror fans, but there is also a powerful underlying philosophical aspect here, which ponders the meaning of family, love, and community….Imagine that Bentley Little or the late Richard Laymon tried their hand at writing a Cormac McCarthy novel, and you understand who will enjoy this story.”
Josh Malerman
"Terrifying...The kind of horror that remains in the room of the reader. It's as if Nick Cutter spun a very human yarn into the myriad folds of a monster."
Shelf Awareness
“Grafts Lovecraftian imagery onto a Neo-Western foundation, throwing in a cult subplot for good measure….A sprawling horror epic comparable to Stephen King's It. Nick Cutter has a similar affinity for pulp storytelling adapted on a grand scale....Cutter knows horror, and he nails the basics well enough to support ambitious plotting and refreshing genre experimentation.”
Suspense Magazine
“For all horror fans, this is the latest—maybe greatest—novel to come from the mind of the frightening Nick Cutter to date….portraying images, as always, that stay in your mind and stop calm, peaceful sleep from coming."
Paul Tremblay
Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven is a sprawling epic that can stand alongside the best of 80's King, Barker, and McCammon. It pits the coolest and most unlikely bounty hunters against an old time religious cult and the ickiest creation this side of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Fun, nasty, smart, and scary, and in all the right places.”
Clive Barker on THE DEEP
"Utterly terrifying."
Ania Ahlborn
"If you aren't claustrophobic now, you will be after reading The Deep. Terror at its best!"
Suspense Magazine on THE DEEP
"Provides an unshakable haunting....Recommended for lovers of horror and books that make you question your sanity."
STEPHEN KING on THE TROOP
“THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night.”
SCOTT SMITH
“Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing.”
Mira Grant
“Nick Cutter brings a bone-chilling spin to a classic horror scenario in THE TROOP. It's Lord of the Flies meets Night of the Creeps, and I enjoyed it immensely.”
Jonathan Maberry
“Nick Cutter pulls out all the stops in THE TROOP. This is a brilliant and deeply disturbing novel that you absolutely cannot put down. Highly recommended.”
Christopher Golden
“A grim microcosm of terror and desperation…haunting.”
San Francisco Chronicle on THE TROOP
"Resembling something like Deliverance as imagined by David Cronenberg."
Library Journal
11/15/2016
In what may be Cutter's (The Troop; The Deep) best work yet, this new novel follows three mercenaries who years earlier encountered a horrific monster that left them cursed. The trio are now hired by a young woman to check on her nephew, who is living in a remote New Mexico religious community known as Little Heaven. Each man must now face his past demons as they track down a deadly malevolent force that has taken over Little Heaven and its inhabitants. Shifting between the late 1960s and the 1980s, the action takes place in a gritty, remote Southwest with the settings so well detailed that they almost become characters in themselves. However, the graphic violence makes this unsuitable for teens and sensitive adult readers; the salty language and racially charged epithets typical of the time period may also offend. VERDICT Despite these flaws, this terrific novel will please hard-core horror fans.—Matt Schirano, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., CT
Kirkus Reviews
2016-10-05
Little Heaven, as described by Cutter (the pseudonym of Canadian writer Craig Davidson), is a big slice of hell. And this deeply disturbing story throws the reader right into the thick of it, along with a trio of mercenaries who encounter the supernatural within a Jonestown-like religious compound.The story opens in 1980, when three professional killers—spiky bounty hunter Minerva Atwater, refined English mercenary Ebenezer Elkins, and reformed family man Micah Shughrue—are still damaged by the events of 15 years earlier. That story is told in flashback, as the ragtag team—who became allies after trying and failing to assassinate each other—is hired by Ellen Bellhaven to rescue her nephew from the compound. Getting there requires navigating a dark wood, where they find evidence of undead, demonic creatures. Things get much worse at Little Heaven, as children turn sadistic, the head preacher turns power-crazed, some of the congregants are graphically murdered, and ominous insects and vermin are everywhere. The three outlaws follow a trail to a looming black mountain, where they face the shape-shifting embodiment of all this evil. They survive, but 15 years later it returns to abduct Shughrue’s daughter, prompting a fateful rematch. The story is gripping and the language often poetic, and the three killers make oddly sympathetic heroes. But readers will need to maintain a high tolerance for grisly violence and unsettling imagery and be ready for a few sleepless nights. The early sections have enough dark humor to give a false sense of security. But once the team reaches Little Heaven, the pace of the horror is unrelenting.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781501104213
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
49,228
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Little Heaven

1

THE LION IN WINTER

Meet the Author

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Little Heaven: A Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Myndia 7 days ago
Horror is not a genre I read often. And maybe that’s why at the end of this book I was thinking…What did I just read? I’m starting to think that question is one I will always ask at the end of a horror novel. Because I did at the end of N0S4A2 by Joe Hill. And The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. And pretty much after every horror movie I’ve ever watched (which is actually a LOT considering I don’t read a lot of horror – thanks stepdad #2 for dragging me and my young impressionable brain to drive-ins to see every horror movie made in the 70’s and 80’s). But it isn’t a bad “What did I just read?” It’s more of a contemplative, “this is compelling and I can’t stop thinking about it, but what is it really about” kind of thing. And I love books that make me question, make me think, that keep my brain whirring into the wee hours (I’m up anyway). Now, I imagine there are subgenres of horror, and naturally I know nothing about them. But for me, this was almost absurdist. It isn’t the kind of horror that hits so close to home that you obsessively check to see if your doors are locked and sleep with the lights on for three weeks straight. It’s the kind of horror that brings the impossible to life in a grotesque and nightmarish kind of way. And I think it is that sense of impossibility, the fact that it strays so far from what most of us can imagine, that makes it somewhat absurdist in nature. In the first few chapters, before I got to the more bizarre bits, I thought it felt like some Dean Koontz novels I’ve read (and I’m a big Koontz fan). Once it got to the more grotesque imagery, I immediately thought of Stephen King’s Creepshow, the movie, and even better…the comic book/graphic novel (which was utterly amazing, and which I read so many times I’m amazed it didn’t fall to pieces). In fact, I paused to find images of the comic book online so that I could enjoy it once more, and then returned to the book thinking – this needs more pictures. I would LOVE to see this book as a graphic novel. I’d buy it and read the crap out of it. Seriously. The writing was good. The characters were intriguing, as was the storyline. The style was different. Not in a bad way, but it reminded me of something else that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I’m struggling to find the words to properly describe it. It was very matter of fact, unemotional, a little removed. But that doesn’t quite explain it either. The voice in this book is quite distinct, and it threw me at first, but ultimately I loved it. It just felt right. Another thing worth noting it is does jump around in time, back and forth between then and now, and it can be a bit confusing at times, but it works. I suspect I would do this book more justice if I were a horror aficionado, but as that is not the case, all I can say is: despite not being a self-proclaimed horror fan, I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining, thought-provoking, well-developed, and made me nostalgic for similar works I enjoyed in my youth. I’d definitely recommend it. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Skuldren 13 days ago
If you take two mercenaries and a bounty hunter, throw in an evil preacher, some monsters, and kids that need to be rescued, you wind up with an fascinating horror story called Little Heaven. In this tale, three unlikely heroes come together to face an unspeakable evil. Split between the past and the present, the story tells two tales, one of how the characters came to be in the mid 60’s, and their reunion for one last adventure in year 1980. It’s a mixture of action, sweeping characterization, colorful prose, and imaginative horror. The book opens with a mysterious evil seeping up from the ground and spreading its malevolent will. A girl in an isolated farmhouse is kidnapped. Three killers in their waning years hear the call of a thing they’ve tried so hard to escape. The odd details slowly come together to form a picture. These three killers shared a past together. Something happened to them, a thing that bounds them together, yet haunts their memories. There’s Micah, a Korean war vet turned gun for hire. There’s Eb, a black Englishman who works as a mercenary. Then there’s Minny, a female shootist and bounty hunter. It’s an intriguing trio for a horror story. Yet they’re not the only viewpoint characters. There’s the preacher who hears voices and scams his flock into following him into the wilderness. There’s the concerned aunt who is trying to track down her nephew. And then there’s The Long Walker, a creature delighted by violence and the harbinger of the things to come. On one hand, the book is a fun exploration of the three main characters. Each has a mysterious background that is slowly revealed as the story progresses. They all have their odd quirks and motivations. While there are aspects of them you might despise, there’s also aspects worthy of admiration. Yet the story also explores the villains, be it the lowly goons serving their evil masters or the head henchmen themselves. Beyond that is the fantastical side of the story. That’s where the horror comes in. It starts as a monstrosity formed by beasts and insects, a collection of horrors serving a greater evil. As the story rolls along, you work your way up the food chain toward the thing pulling the strings. Without ruining the surprise, it’s a great premise with lots of fun reveals. In regards to the content of the story, it’s very much in the realm of Stephen King. There’s graphic violence, macabre horror scenes, some unsettling sexual content and with the exploration of the villains, it touches on racism and blasphemy. All in all, it’s not a story for the squeamish or sensitive as it strikes at a lot of nerves. But the character explorations are compelling, and the prose does a wicked job of bringing the scenes to life. It makes for a great horror story. Plus, the ending is pretty good which is a thing King sometimes struggles with. Overall, Little Heaven is a great character driven horror story with a fun plot. It’s not often you get a book where the main characters are mercenaries and are faced with things beyond the normal world. It’s one thing to face the horrors of mankind, but it’s another to confront things beyond this world. With a story uniquely crafted in two separate time periods with colorful characters and haunting horror elements, I give this book a five out of five.
Deb-Krenzer 13 days ago
Wow, the journey that Minerva, Eb and Micah took during the telling of this story was incredible and out of this world. I mean really out of this world. I literally could not put this book down. The author outdid himself on this one. And the scene in the church at the end where he puts a spoiler at the end in the epilogue- so not needed - I so had that thought in my mind when I was reading it. No doubt about it. This was absolutely the most gross, horrendous, terrifying story I have read since "The Troop". I mean just the beginning with the animals coming together (stopping here - no spoilers) was mind boggling. And the preacher - what a total wuss. And poor Nate, I felt so sorry for him. Nick Cutter or whatever his real name is has got one heck of a demonic mind and I love his stories. He freaks me out reading them and I can't read them even close to bedtime, but his mind goes way beyond the normal psyche and I love that. He's not for everybody, but he's definitely for me. Thanks to Gallery Books for approving my request and to Net Gallery for providing me a free e-gallery in exchange for an honest review.
tpolen 14 days ago
3.5 stars When beginning this book, I felt as if I'd been transported to an early Stephen King novel and was in my own 'little heaven' and excited for the rest of this novel. But in the end, I had some mixed feelings. The characterization is superb. Yes, the three MCs are basically killers for hire, but it didn't take long to become invested in them and their story. The dynamics between them are even humorous at times and although they'd all worked alone by choice and are initially brought together by interesting circumstances, they develop a strong sense of loyalty to each other. The Reverend is appropriately loathsome and evil, the children of Little Heaven are about as creepy as they come, and if you like your horror on the gory side, there's an abundance in this novel. Although it wasn't the ending I'd hoped for, it was appropriate for the story. That being said - this is a looooong book and it took quite a while to get to that ending. Admittedly, I skimmed through many pages, lost focus, or put the book down several times. I've read The Troop and The Deep by this author, and although I don't think a book of a comparable length would have done this story justice, maybe it could have been streamlined a bit. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Silk-Serif 15 days ago
First off, Little Heaven scared the hell out of me. I began this novel confused by the characters: who was who and how did the fit into the novel? Little Heaven also skips around in time a lot at the beginning: a man’s daughter is abducted by a dark force, three gun toting associates set off to find her and memory of a town created by a cult in the shadow of evil..yet, once the novel got rolling, the descriptive language, masterful story telling and the slow, but still riveting unraveling of the history between the gunslingers and Little Heaven had me hooked. Slow and realistic, Little Heaven is a novel that sneaks up on the reader. A well researched and well developed plot contribute to a skin crawling read of exceptional portions. Little Heaven is a novel that highlights Cutters’ skills as a horror writer. The tale is coherent, semi-realistic and deliciously creepy. Additionally, unlike Cutters’ novel The Troop, there is less description of horrific animal abuse and less “in-your-face” creepy crawly action which is evidence of Cutters’ progressing skills in horror writing. Anyone can write horrific scenes. A master horror writer can utilize language and manipulate their readers using the understated to create a chilling scene. Cutter does this wonderfully. Maybe it’s just because Cutter did not use giant tape worms, but I found that the disgust factor was less the focus of Little Heaven and the creep factor was more prominent. A welcome evolution for Cutter. The part I appreciated the most about Little Heaven was the research Cutter put into the cult People’s Temple, a cult who drank poisoned Koolaid under the directions of their leader Jim Jones. The fanatical belief and the manipulative speeches by Preacher Flesher were all very loosely based on the People’s Temple. The obvious care in developing Little Heaven as a cult, the creation of complex main characters and some really intense, skin crawling imagery is what made Little Heaven great. The novel starts off slow with character backstory and history which bogged down the overall plot, but once the characters reached the cult of Little Heaven, it was well worth it since it created a rich tapestry of history which made the characters more real. The only part of this novel I found lacking, was the beginning filled with backstory. Although necessary for setting up the rest of the novel and the intricate relationships between characters, it was somewhat boring and difficult to wade through. The over abundance of detail, if I had not received this as an ARC, probably would have caused me to give up reading this novel..I couldn’t remember the synopsis of the novel by the time the group was headed to Little Heaven. However persevering through all the details and backstory paid off. The novel, once Little Heaven came on scene, was exceptional and probably Cutters’ best work to date. Insidious and covert, the fear slowly builds during this read and catch up to the reader without their realizing..this is what real masterpieces in horror are all about! This book will appeal to readers who enjoy horror, novels about cults and are willing to put in the effort to learn about the world before the main action starts. I do not suggest this to readers who do not like a lot of gore or inappropriate language.