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{November 22, 2012}   {Review} The Hoard by Alan Ryker

From Goodreads: A new breed…a new evil…

Hidden deep beneath its landfill lair of trash and filth, a strange new organism has come to life. When an accidental fire drives it out, the mysterious creature escapes across the drought-blasted Kansas prairie and finds the home of elderly hoarder Anna Grish. In desperate need of shelter, it burrows in, concealed amidst the squalor and mess.

When Adult Protective Services force Anna to vacate her junk-riddled home, she moves in with her son and his family. But there is something wrong with Anna, something more than her declining mental condition and severe hoarding disorder. Something sinister has taken hold of her, and it’s not only getting stronger, it’s spreading.

Amidst the wide-open Kansas plains, with endless blue sky above and flat, open vista stretching from one horizon to the next, there is nowhere to hide from…THE HOARD.

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This was a really interesting premise and I found the novel to be a good read, too.  I have to admit, I definitely didn’t care for the characters, though.  I’m not sure if I was supposed to like them or not, but I just found them a little bit… uncaring—if that’s the word for it?  Anna is a very elderly hoarder, and the fact that her son, Pete, who lives down the lane, next door, doesn’t know it, makes me wonder just how much he cares about others.  I feel like he’s a bit of a “bad” son.  I mean, I have a great relationship with my family, so I might just not get it, but aren’t children supposed to care for their elderly parents at a certain point?  Now, I do understand that he’s not allowed in his mother’s house, but… I’d be curious enough to go in anyway, no matter what she said, and see what all the fuss is about.  And, once I knew the condition of her house, I’d make sure she didn’t go back there and that she got the help she needed.  Pete doesn’t do that, and his actions throughout much of the novel made me very angry with him, especially as he chastises himself, but doesn’t seem to do anything about it.  Of course, psychologically speaking, Pete is messed up due to a family death that occurred when he was young, but even so, I’d think that protecting my family members was more important than making my mother happy.  Perhaps that’s just me, but that’s the reason I didn’t care for Pete very much.  His wife also seemed to be quite uncaring and, while I know it’s said that daughter-in-laws hate their mother-in-laws, I also tend to believe that, when someone is in trouble, you care for them.  Pete’s wife is someone of a jerk, in my opinion.  And Anna… well… she’s a hoarder willing to put her lifestyle and cats above all else, and it’s really disgusting.

But, it probably it a good thing that I don’t have any loving connections with the characters because some crazy things happen in this novel, and none of them are good.  I definitely was anxious throughout much of the novel, and the ending just killed me.  After all the battling and trying to save people from The Hoard… I almost felt like the ending was a bit anti-climactic.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I was hoping for a more happy resolution—I mean, the book itself just isn’t very happy and I thought it would go differently in the end.

Do I recommend this book?  Yep.  I thought it was very well done, though I didn’t connect with the characters.  And by the end, I was very glad I didn’t.  It’s very well written and The Hoard itself is really creepy—it’ll make you think twice about any pile of junk you come across, for sure, and the events will stay with you for days.  The horrific elements within the book and Anna’s loss of sanity do spur the reader on and I highly suggest reading it if you’re looking for a horror novel that’s completely different. Three and a half stars.

DarkFuse has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley.

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