Pig Island (novel)
|3 April 2006|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Followed by||Throwing the Bones|
Pig Island is a novel by British writer Mo Hayder, first published in 2006. The novel is nominally a thriller which mixes elements of the detective novel with more overt horror influences. It reached number 8 on the Sunday Times bestseller lists, the author's highest position to date.
The novel's protagonist is Joe Oakes – "Oakesy" – a journalist who makes his living exposing supernatural hoaxes. So, when a bizarre videotape recorded by a tourist catches a glimpse of a disturbing creature, half-man half-beast, wandering the beaches of a remote Scottish island, Oaksey is just the man to investigate. Pig Island is home to a mysterious religious community, the Psychogenic Healing Ministries, and its leader Pastor Malachi Dove, and they ask him to come to the island to debunk the rumours of Satanism which are the result of the videotape. Oaksey has met Pastor Dove before, and the two have a long-standing threat to make good on.
However, Oaksey's visit throws up more questions than answers. Why does the wider community not want him there? Why will no one talk about the creature seen wandering the island? What lies beyond the wood and the gorge that almost splits the island in two, with a fence that has rotting pig heads atop its posts? Most importantly, what has happened to Pastor Dove, not seen on the island for years, and why will no one talk about him? Joe's visit to the island, and its horrific conclusion, is only the beginning of the legacy that Pig Island will leave on his life.
Darrell Squires of The Western Star said that the "use of dark and heavy atmosphere creates an almost crushing sense of dread and ennui", but that the main character's "style of telling the story is slangy, sometimes a little too casual and flippant".
Peter Guttridge of The Guardian said that this novel, in comparison to Hayder's previous novels, "has moved into disturbing territory around sex that makes Tod Browning's Freaks seem like a Doris Day movie" and that Hayder shows the "commitment she brings to her neo-gothic horror tale". Entertainment Weekly reviewer, Jennifer Reese, gave it a "B-", saying that "this novel is merely creepy, a skin-crawling cross between The Last Seduction and Splash." A Montreal Gazette reviewer said that "it is the almost languid pace of the horror that is unsettling" and that "the ending is sudden, shocking and splendid".
- Squires, Darrell (June 16, 2007). "Mystery read surveys dark territory". The Western Star. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- Guttridge, Peter (April 23, 2006). "A red letter day in Dullsville". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- Reese, Jennifer (February 28, 2007). "Pig Island (2007)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- "Be afraid of the dark". Montreal Gazette. April 14, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2010.