Book Review: Purged (Matt Hunter), by Peter Laws

Publisher:  Allison & Busby

Publication date: 16th February 2017

(Happy Publication Day to the author of Purged, Peter Laws!)


purged-by-peter-laws-coverBlimey, this was wickedly good. A close-knit community provides the perfect host for dreadful things to thrive. At times I felt compelled to read the book at arm’s length to put as much distance between me and the practices of the more curious residents of Hobbs Hill as possible!

How do you not rock the boat when you genuinely can’t agree with 99% of the local population’s strong religious principles? He might have been there, done that and burned the t-shirt but Matt Hunter’s previous experience in theological circles only allows him to endure so much. After a stint in Hobbs Hill I got the distinct impression that Professor Hunter would happily beat most of the residents with the oars. 

Yes, the ex-church minister turned professional non-believer arrives with his family to a chorus of enthusiastic worshippers. It makes his toes curl in his Yoda slippers, not that he disapproves of other people’s beliefs. He’d much prefer if he wasn’t made to feel morally inadequate because he chose differently. The whole ’embrace your faith’ atmosphere doesn’t do much for his wife either but a lot’s riding on their holiday visit, like the rest of her career, so it’s advisable not to provoke the townsfolk… which is easier said than done.

Their holiday mood isn’t improved by several unforeseen distractions: the road kill that made me physically wince, an old acquaintance with a captive and highly appreciative audience, and there are missing persons whose disappearances coincide with Matt’s miraculously timed arrival. Life’s not looking good for the sociology professor, not one little bit – and he hasn’t even started on the book he’s meant to be writing.

You have no idea how ridiculous I feel as I admit to physically craning my head to see what was over the shoulder of a fictional character before they did. But isn’t that the sign of awesome scene setting and plotting? There’s nothing quite like the aftershock of a rogue twig snap to get you turning pages just that little bit faster. Plus there are some downright impressive tongue-in-cheek observations and masses of cracking retorts – Matt Hunter is a character I can’t wait to see again soon! 

Purged generously obliges in SO many ways: people are peculiar, their intentions are ambiguous, and suspense is everything. LOVED IT.

Rating:   5/5 

(Mwah! to the lovely Emma Finnigan for putting this one on my radar – thank YOU! It goes without saying that it’s my pleasure to provide this unbiased review. Thank you also to the publisher for the review copy.)


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Matt Hunter lost his faith a long time ago. Formerly a minister, now a professor of sociology, he’s writing a book that debunks the Christian faith while assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes. On holiday with his family in Oxfordshire, Matt finds himself on edge in a seemingly idyllic village where wooden crosses hang at every turn. The stay becomes more sinister still when a local girl goes missing, followed by further disappearances. Caught up in an investigation that brings memories to the surface that he would prefer stay buried deep, Matt is on the trail of a killer determined to save us all.



(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Peter Laws is an author, journalist, film critic and YouTube horror host. He’s also a church minister with a taste for the macabre. His debut novel ‘Purged’, is a horror-tinged crime thriller and will be available in shops and online on February 16th 2017. The follow up, ‘Unleashed’ is out the following year.

He’s currently writing a non-fiction book for Icon Books, which explores why ordinary, everyday people are drawn to morbid, spooky and downright repellent material. It’s called The Frighteners (See intro video on his Author page to see how YOU might be able to become part of the research).

He writes a monthly column in the print magazine The Fortean Times and hosts the popular podcast and YouTube show The Flicks That Church Forgot which reviews scary films from a theological perspective. He also does quirky cover versions of obscure horror songs on there, so why not drop by.

He regularly speaks at churches and events and may be available to speak at your event, if you’d like to get in touch.


Note: The talented author has also composed a dark and brooding instrumental soundtrack to accompany his book. If you’re interested, it’s currently available to stream from his website… (P.S. It’s very good!)


8 thoughts on “Book Review: Purged (Matt Hunter), by Peter Laws

  1. Sorry, I’m using my tablet which has a mind of it’s own so I’ll try again. Great review. I think I would initially have steered clear because of the hint of horror, but you’ve sold it to me. The author also sounds like a fascinating character.

    Liked by 1 person

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