The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Creeper Man
Dawn Kurtagich
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Published: July 14th 2016
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars

When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath's country house feels like a safe haven. Leaving the smog and fear behind, the girls have the love and freedom they never had in their violent home. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel.

Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing; every day the surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house; a mysterious boy appears from the enclosing wood offering friendship, and Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest. A man with no eyes who creeps ever closer.

Dawn Kurtagich definitely knows what she’s doing when it comes to creepy, psychologically disturbing, thought provoking stories.

Much like with The Dead House, I was hooked from the beginning, drawn right into the story thinking ‘what’s all this about?’ Nothing is clear, yet nothing is confusing, either. There’s the perfect balance of not knowing what on earth is going on and receiving the answers you so desperately crave.

The story of Silla, Nori, and their Aunt Cath (whom they have gone to live with) is not a straightforward one by any means. There are twists and turns all over the place, and uncertainty is the tone throughout. Why does Aunt Cath live in the middle of the forest? Why does she seem so startled by the girls? What will happen to them all out there?

There’s more to The Creeper Man than meets the eye, as well. The prologue is weird enough on its own, but when it becomes apparent that it will be playing a larger part in the story, you can’t help but stop and put the book down. Just what has this family got embroiled in? Why is the past so important and closely entwined with the present? Mystery after mystery are handed to us, but Kurtagich weaves them all together so well we hardly realise we’re getting more questions before new answers.

Silla and Nori also had an interesting dynamic – alongside their interesting personalities that made me question how reliable and trustworthy there were. Nori had the blissful ignorance and blind trust that only children can possess. Silla, the cynicism and scepticism befitting of a teenager – and one who’s been through hell, at that. It was immediately clear that Silla cared immensely for Nori and that Nori in turn relied heavily on her sister, to the point where it almost felt as if they were mother and daughter rather than siblings. A blessing for Nori, when Aunt Cath seems to become unstable, staying hidden in the attic, but a curse for Silla as she has to become the adult in the situation.

The legend of the Creeper Man himself was very intriguing. Not to mention extremely creepy – he doesn’t have eyes, for goodness sake! The way things were explained to us gradually and slowly and in a way that you never knew if you could truly believe (as it’s clear from early on the family doesn’t have the greatest mental strength or stability) only added to the atmosphere and built up the suspense. The reveal was made all the more thrilling after we learnt of Silla’s and Nori’s past.

Definitely not for the fainthearted, The Creeper Man is a wild ride from start finish. It will leave you hanging off every word, yet too afraid to read once it gets dark outside.

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