Having been chided by Yorkie for reading “bloke books”, I promised that I should demonstrate my reconstructed new-man credentials by reading something written by a bird. Pig Island by Mo Hayder was my choice.
This is an odd tale, but an intriguing one. It centres on hack journalist, Joe Oakes, who has made his living by exposing supernatural hoaxes, a crusade inspired by his loathing of the spiritual healer, Malachi Dove, who he first encounters as a student.
Oakes exposes Dove fake spiritual healing through an article in the Fortean Times of all places and soon Dove is the subject of an IRS investigation in the US and he promises revenge on Oakes.
Twenty years have passed and Dove has flown the US for his native UK and has bought Pig Island off the shores of Scotland where he has set up a community of his followers.
Pig Island has become infamous thanks to a YouTube video that appears to show some tailed creature walking on along its shores and the Psychogenic Healing Ministries community invite Oakes to the island to expose it as a hoax. Their true agenda is to prove Dove’s insanity so they can take control of his financial affairs.
Violence and mass murder follow and the only people to escape are Oakes, Dove’s daughter, Angeline, and the perpetrator, the elusive Pastor Malachi Dove himself.
The story then focuses on the fear that Dove will come in search of Oakes to deliver his promised revenge and Oakes, his wife, Lexie, and Angeline go into hiding in a police safe house.
It would spoil things to say more, but as the blurb on the back cover says, the “confrontation, and its violent and bloody aftermath, is so catastrophic that it forces Oaksey to question the nature of evil, and whether he might be responsible for the terrible crime about to unfold.”
Some of her descriptions are graphic and disturbing, but seldom gratuitous and she has an eye for descriptive detail and paints a vivid picture in the imagination.
If I have a criticism it is that the book seems to be lacking a page or two at the end as the story gently fizzles out, rather than a satisfactory denouement and for that reason I give it four stars.