Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
Book of the Month
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues - though the authorities aren't sure if it's a man they should be looking for. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family - their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel - where some suspect that biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he's a werewolf. Or perhaps it's Roman, the son of the late J. R. Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly, sexy control freak of a mother, Olivia. As the crime goes unsolved and the police seem more and more willing to believe any outlandish rumour, Peter and Roman decide the only way to save their own skins is to find the killer themselves. Along the way they uncover local secrets and designs that are much bigger than some small-town murder.
The debut novel of Brian McGreevy, Hemlock Grove, which has just been made into a TV series executively produced by horror director Eli Roth, may at first sound like a continuation of Twilight-inspired teenage angst but this moved far, far beyond this and into a vicious, creepy world where Twin Peaks has werewolves and vampires roaming the industrial ruins.
Gypsy Peter Rumancek lives on the fringes of society, with a highly sensitive sixth sense and a very clear idea of what does and does not concern him. When a girl is found brutally murdered, he and the heir of the Godfrey fortune, Roman, move beyond their differences to find out who the killer is. Mysterious and monstrous creatures abound in Hemlock Grove however, with Roman’s inscrutable and deadly mother Olivia, the psychopathic head of the White Tower medical facility Dr Pryce, an outsider werewolf hunter and the two boys’ own supernatural natures supporting a complex story of family loyalty, primordial instinct and power struggles.
I mentioned Twin Peaks before, and there is the same small town, claustrophobic feel to it, along with the central theme of a young girl’s murder fuelling suspicions, but as opposed to Twin Peaks’ working saw mill which gave it a solid working class realism, Hemlock Grove’s steel factory is a crumbling, dark relic that casts its shadow across the narrative, contrasted with the futuristic brilliance of the White Tower, within which largely unexplained experiments take place. This isn’t a supernatural tale which stands around sending longing glances and flexing shirtless muscles, Hemlock Grove goes for the jugular in a dark, twisted and horrific murder mystery where werewolves fight their way out of their human hosts, young girls are preyed upon and you have no idea who you can trust.
Peter and Roman form a solid basis for the unravelling of the story, with McGreevy’s style of writing weaving in a slight dreamlike quality of deadly shadows drifting through the hemlock. This isn’t just a story of exposing a murderer, this is an exploration of family ties, how far people will go for those who they love, lust, and the vicious side of human nature. Peter in particular is a fascinating character – wise beyond his years yet somebody who comes to realise that life involves more than just taking care of himself.
This is for those who want their horror laced with sex, violence and things better left unexplained.
This Hemlock Grove book review was written by Cat Fitzpatrick
Have you read Hemlock Grove?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Hemlock Grove reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a v...
The Wolf's Hour
Michael Gallatin is a British spy with a peculiar talent: the ability to transform himself into a wolf. Although his work in North Africa helped the Allies win the continen...
The Last Werewolf
One last full moon – then it will all be over. Jacob Marlowe has lost the will to live. For two hundred years he has wandered the world, enslaved by his lunatic appet...
The Dead of Winter
Cora Ogelsby and her husband, Ben, hunt things - things that shouldn't exist. When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious, bloody deaths ...
Changeling: Blood Wolf
The Mission: They’ve broken the evil vampire Caliban’s power base. They thought that it was all over. That’s where they were wrong... Changeling: Blood Wo...
Lauren Westlake, an F.B.I. agent, arrives in a small Minnesota town after opening a cold case file. A killer is on the loose. But Lauren and the local police department mus...
Avalonia: The Three Realms
Ashley Kate Simmons
Lily is an average teenage girl who finds herself drawn into a world filled with beings only heard of in myths and legends. Faeries, Vampires and Werewolves both good and b...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...