Severed by Peter Laws
During a communion service at a village church, the teenage son of a vicar brutally attacks his father with an axe. The horrified congregation watch the son escape and during a frantic police search rumours arise that the boy was involved in devil worship. Professor Matt Hunter, an atheist ex-minister and expert on religion, is brought in to advise, yet he quickly suspects the church attack may have a far more complex cause.
Meanwhile, a ten-year-old boy called Ever grows up in a small Christian cult. The group believe they are the only true humans left and that the world is filled with demons called Hollows, but they’re working on a bizarre ritual that will bring peace and paradise to the world. Soon, the worlds of Matt and Ever will collide in one awful, terrifying night where Matt is thrown into the frightening and murderous world of religious mania.
The prologue of Severed describes the history of the Crooked church in the Chiltern Hills. Which slowly sets the tone for this complex psychological horror thriller.
We are quickly introduced to Rev David East and his son Micah. They live alone after David’s wife Zara left 2yrs ago. David is struggling as a single father and is filled with the constant worry that something he has done, has caused Micah’s withdrawal from their active community. He is consoled by parishioner Miriam, from the church he has served for 10yrs, the Crooked Church…
‘Maybe God’s planning something. Something wonderful’ – Miriam Aimes
As David enters the church, he feels reassured with the kind words of Miriam and begins his service…
‘God’s going to move today, Vic. I can feel it’ – Rev East
However, Micah has other ideas…
‘Eloi, Eloi, Lama Kataltani’ – Micah
With those words spoken, Micah leap into attack and pounces on his father. But why?
‘The boy has the Devil in him’
In the aftermath of the attack, Professor Matt Hunter is called in to help local CID Detective Jill Bowland. While Rev David East remains in a coma fighting for his life from the axe attack. The police and Matt must apprehend Micah.
A search of the house reveals a disturbing bedroom, which poses the question, is this child part of a group? Or acting alone?
There are scenes from another young Male’s point of view, Ever. They are chilling scenes that surround what a child can be forced to believe!
The novel is gripping and stays with you, it has brilliant themes and makes for an intense read. The mystery of cults and controlling behaviour is fully explored. 5*