Reviews for Ritual

Library Journal Reviews 2012 February #2

When four university friends embark on a camping trip in a Scandinavian forest, their goal is to reestablish old ties while briefly escaping the pressures of their day-to-day lives. Tensions rise when an ill-conceived shortcut leaves them lost in the dense wilderness and nearly explode when the men encounter an eviscerated corpse strung up in a tree. Lost, terrified, and now hunted, they know their nightmare has just begun. Despite the apparent Blair Witch/Dreamcatcher/Deliverance-derived premise, Nevill's U.S. debut spins an old idea into something fresh, gripping, and deeply disturbing. The presence in the woods is unspeakably evil, but the growing hostility and violence among the men is nearly as alarming. VERDICT Nevill's prose is sometimes challenging--he repeatedly pummels his readers with lengthy passages of baroque description that slow down the action--but, in the end, he has crafted a harrowing read that will keep readers riveted right through the final page. Highly recommended, especially for fans of gritty, literary horror by authors such as Scott Smith, Clive Barker, and Dan Simmons.--Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 December #3

"And on the second day things did not get better." This suitably foreboding opening sentence sets the stage for a dark and mesmerizing horror debut that riffs on Algernon Blackwood's classic story "The Wendigo." Hutch, Luke, Dom, and Phil set off on a camping trip in the forests of Sweden, only to find the woods hostile to their explorations. Tensions arise when it becomes clear that two of the party aren't physically up to the challenges of navigating the rough terrain, and fears set in with the discovery of an eviscerated "thing" hanging higher up in a tree then any animal would place it. Nevill makes the natural world deeply menacing, using the power of suggestion rather than explicit images to create a growing claustrophobic feeling as the difficult journey to return to some semblance of civilization embeds the quartet only further in the grasp of primal evil. Agent: John Jarrold. (Feb.)

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