Little Heaven

Little Heaven

An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down...old-school horror at its best.”From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and Stephe...

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Title:Little Heaven
Author:Nick Cutter
Rating:
ISBN:1501104217
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:496 pages

Little Heaven Reviews

  • Angel Erin
    Jan 05, 2017

    Thank you to Gallery Books for providing a free copy of Little Heaven in exchange for an honest review!

    Let me start off this review by saying that Little Heaven was my most anticipated release of 2017. I absolutely LOVE The Troop and The Deep by this author. So that is why I am sad to say that I liked this one, but I didn't LOVE it. I can't help but feel a tad bit of disappointment. Little Heaven is so close to being a spectacular and epic book, but it was

    Thank you to Gallery Books for providing a free copy of Little Heaven in exchange for an honest review!

    Let me start off this review by saying that Little Heaven was my most anticipated release of 2017. I absolutely LOVE The Troop and The Deep by this author. So that is why I am sad to say that I liked this one, but I didn't LOVE it. I can't help but feel a tad bit of disappointment. Little Heaven is so close to being a spectacular and epic book, but it was just missing something.

    #ABitDisappointed

    Part of my issue with Little Heaven is the beginning. The book started off a little slow and I had a hard time getting into it. It finally started to pick up around 100-150 pages in, but then there were some slow parts again. The last half of the book or so was pretty strong and fast-paced though. I'm glad I did push forward and get to that point because things did get a lot better.

    #SlowStart

    I liked the concept of this book and the story is very interesting, but like I mentioned before there is just a disconnect somewhere. The characters are okay, but I didn't like or dislike anybody enough. I was almost a bit apathetic about all of the characters. I am glad that the book had a few parts that were pretty creepy. I think that's what saved the book from being terrible for me.

    #LackOfCharacterConnection

    Overall I liked Little Heaven, but I feel like it had so much potential to be great and it just wasn't. There are some very good and CREEPY parts in the book that made it worth the read. If you can get past the beginning. I just really wish that I had loved this one more like I was expecting to.

    #LovedTheCreepyParts

    I do recommend this one if you are a Cutter fan, however if you haven't read anything by him before then I suggest reading The Troop or The Deep first.

    #TheTroopIsMyFaveCutterBook

  • Michael Hicks
    Dec 30, 2016

    If Stephen King's

    felt like a Greatest Hits rehash of of his own earlier, better books, then Nick Cutter's

    is a tribute cover band rendition of several of King's biggest moments.

    They say imitation is flattery, and if that's the case, ol' Stevie has to be wearing a big, walloping grin on his face. Cutter has clearly, to say the least, been influenced by the King of Horror, and

    borrows liberally from titles like

    and The Gunslinger saga. The climax alo

    If Stephen King's

    felt like a Greatest Hits rehash of of his own earlier, better books, then Nick Cutter's

    is a tribute cover band rendition of several of King's biggest moments.

    They say imitation is flattery, and if that's the case, ol' Stevie has to be wearing a big, walloping grin on his face. Cutter has clearly, to say the least, been influenced by the King of Horror, and

    borrows liberally from titles like

    and The Gunslinger saga. The climax alone features several reminders from these books - an antagonist who challenges a member of Cutter's band of gunslinger mercenaries to a game of riddles, while others move their way through a deep cavern to square off against the ancient, and perhaps, timeless Big Bad just as elemental devastation begins to loom outside.

    Before we get there, though, Cutter divvies his antihero protagonists' stories across the time stream, jumping back and forth between 1980 and 1966. After Micah's daughter is lured away from home by a demonic Pied Piped, he hurries to put the band back together, reuniting with fellow gunslingers Ebenezer and Minerva. Flashback to 1966 and how these three troublesome killers met-up, and then banded together as hired guns sent into a secretive religious compound, Little Heaven, to rescue a young boy from Bible thumping crackpots. Tucked away in the forest, our intrepid fighters learn there are savage monstrosities hidden in the woods.

    Over the course of the book, Cutter weaves the two timelines together, a la

    , invoking evils both human and otherwise, telling a story that is pretty good but also fairly unoriginal. It's almost as if Cutter sat down and decided to write an honest-to-goodness Stephen King book, mimicking the sense of scope of King's biggest door-stoppers as they careen toward an apocalyptic finale. And while I found

    to be an engaging read, one that I was eager to return to over the course of a week, I was also quite cognizant that what I was reading was pure mimicry. Cutter has enough original ideas to play with, and he does so effectively, but so much of it feels drenched in knowing inspiration, and then we hit a finale practically straight out of Derry, ME.

    I'm fairly conflicted over how to rate

    . I liked it quite a bit, and I suspect if I hadn't read several of King's biggest and best first I would have absolutely loved this book. But I'm also a bit troubled by a pattern that appears to be emerging in Cutter's works.

    got by on sheer entertainment value, and I was willing to give it as pass for its knowing tributes to movies like

    ,

    , and

    . Now that I'm examining

    , a book that is surely entertaining but lifts quite a lot of its material from King's cannon, I'm growing a bit leery of Cutter's ability to create original works of horror wholecloth. Yes, he writes some damn impressive, and gory, scare scenes, but the framing of these scenes feels far too...let's say, familiar.

    has a few stand-out moments, and the reveal of the Big Bad is effectively chilling, but if you're well-versed in the works of Stephen King a lot of these elements will feel like a retread at the least, and like an altered xerox at the worst.

    [Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the author.]

  • karen
    May 03, 2016

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    just as i curse my taste buds for preventing me from enjoying the rich and varied world of olives, i curse my reading taste buds for preventing me from liking lovecraft and all books written in the lovecraftian tradition, which is also rich and varied and includes thi

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    just as i curse my taste buds for preventing me from enjoying the rich and varied world of olives, i curse my reading taste buds for preventing me from liking lovecraft and all books written in the lovecraftian tradition, which is also rich and varied and includes this book right here.

    i love nick cutter, and i wanted to love

    because all its pieces seemed to be right up my alley - it's compared to cormac mccarthy and it's got bounty hunters and other guns for hire and a religious cult and revenge, and oh-so-many disgusting descriptions, and it's even illustrated! and so many of these elements really knocked my socks off when i was reading them, but when it came to the novel's supernatural bits, my brain just balked.

    because what i appreciate the most about cutter's brand of horror writing is his old-school flair, where he seems to be channeling stephen king at the height of his powers and writing these contemporary spins on themes that king popularized: the ordinary horrors of childhood made less ordinary with the introduction of a spooky element, the inherent creepiness of children, suppressed memories resurfacing in adulthood, wonderful descriptions and atmosphere giving a weight to the threat that is taking its time to appear, making it all the more effective for its insidiously slow reveal.

    but this one is characterized by an old school horror that is

    old school for my tastes, edging into that lovecraft territory i just do not dig. there are still elements of the king tradition here - the synopsis compares it to IT, but there's also some dark towery stuff, with the guns and the dusters and the journey bits.

    but all of that is lost for me once the lovecrafian elements surface. some of it is the language. there are words i associate with lovecraft (whether accurately or not), and they are all here:

    fulmination, extrusions, clotted, shuddering, ichor, gibbering, madness, jesting, capering, whickerings, guttural, mindless, chittering, obelisk, scuttling, jittering, gobbets, etc.

    but most important are the words relating to the horror itself; everything is unnatural, unspeakable, undefined, unearthly, unthinkable, and the biggie: ineffable

    this occluded quality of the horror ruins the experience for me. i know it's supposed to make it scarier, somehow, where the individual reader will superimpose their own worst imaginings upon the scene and make it a highly personalized horror specific to their own imagination's powers, but either i have no imagination, or i'm lazy and want it spelled out for me. i need a lot more than "ineffable."

    don't get me wrong, there's plenty of description here, even of the big bad, but too many instances of DIY horror, where the reader is left to fill in the blanks:

    - His eyes couldn't grasp the true shape of it, or didn't want to; his gaze skated off its awfulness, shying from it like a nervous horse

    - It wasn't that it was too fast for the eye to chart - it was more that the eye

    , defaulting on its own optics and reducing whatever was out there to an indefinite smudge. Maybe their brains did this as an instinctive protective measure, to spare them the true contours of the thing.

    -his frail human eyes and his inadequate and too-literal mind were preventing him from seeing its more breathtaking true shape.

    stop skirting, please! i want to see its shape!

    despite all my complaints, i liked a lot of this book. the premise is definitely cool - it follows three characters: micah, ebenezer and minerva, from the beginning of their complicated relationship in 1965; which origin story is more of a meet-kill than a meet-cute, where they'd all been contracted to kill each other, although one of them had an additional, personal motivation for homicide. once the dust settled, they formed an uneasy alliance and began working with each other, including a job they accepted to investigate a cult and rescue a child. this job went horribly wrong and resulted in long-ranging consequences, causing them to band together fifteen years later and return to the scene of the horror, dusting off their … dusters, and getting back into the

    flawed v. evil fight once more, older, wearier, less confident of their chances of success but unable to refuse.

    i love the structure - switching back and forth through time. dropping you right into the aftershocks without explaining the cause and slowly revealing the past. it's confusing, but in that "i want to know more" way.

    the descriptions are also great, when they're not describing the actual … evil.

    that's spooky and lovely to me, as is

    and there's some king-style passages that frustrate me with wanting the whole book to be written like this:

    because this stuff just leaves me cold:

    i love the relationships between the three main characters, particularly minerva's deep hatred of ebenezer:

    i loved the juxtaposition of real-world/fairytale world elements - we have the pied piper story woven into the story of a recognizable historical cult leader, and the story borrows elements of the western, horror, and noir genres, all of which would have been like candy to me were it not for all of the … this:

    i really wish this style of horror worked for me, because it keeps me from reading so many things other people seem to enjoy, but it's a stumbling block i cannot overcome because i am defective.

    so, 3.5 rounded up because the parts i liked were quite good indeed, and the parts i didn't like are probably good if you are not a defective reader, and while i wasn't scared-scared, there are some excellent creepy moments.

    *******************************************

    3.5 rounded up because i freaking love nick cutter, but this one falls into that particular brand of horror i've just never been able to get into, which is my own taste-fail, not the book's fault.

    review to come

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    Jan 16, 2017

    2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Believe me, no one is more surprised than I am at my rating. I wanted to like Little Heaven so much, not only because it sounded so intriguing but also because I am a fan of Cutter’s The Troop. However, his newest novel simply did not appeal to me in the same way, despite it feeling like the next step for the author and the story being well put-together.

    The book opens with an introduction to a trio of rough mercenaries who

    2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Believe me, no one is more surprised than I am at my rating. I wanted to like Little Heaven so much, not only because it sounded so intriguing but also because I am a fan of Cutter’s The Troop. However, his newest novel simply did not appeal to me in the same way, despite it feeling like the next step for the author and the story being well put-together.

    The book opens with an introduction to a trio of rough mercenaries who have reunited to stand against an evil from their past. Back in 1965, Micah Shughrue, Ebenezer Elkins, and Minerva Atwater were forced to set aside their differences (i.e. stop killing each other) in order to help a woman named Ellen Bellhaven rescue her nephew from a religious cult in New Mexico. Everything that happened during that fateful year is told in a series of flashbacks chronicling their harrowing mission into the wilderness to infiltrate Little Heaven, the cult’s compound run by a fiendishly insane megalomaniac named Amos Flesher. And yet, compared to the true terrors our three protagonists find lurking in the darkness surrounding them, even the human kind of monsters will seem like small fry.

    Fast forward to fifteen years later, Micah wakes up one day to find his daughter missing, abducted in the night. When his greatest fears are confirmed, the former mercenary has no choice but to call on his one-time allies, beseeching Ebenezer and Minerva to join up with him once more for round two against the horror that has come back to haunt them.

    Since I like leading with the positives, I’m going to first talk about the things I enjoyed about this book. To its credit, Little Heaven really takes the creeps and scares to a whole new level, which is extreme even for Cutter. His writing style has clearly evolved since The Troop, no longer relying solely on the “gross-out” factor to strike terror into readers’ hearts. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of blood, guts and gore in this novel, because there is (not to mention, those with a fear of snakes or creepy crawlies will have especially rough time with this one). Still, in order for a horror novel to be effective, graphic descriptions are only half the picture. The other half of it requires a bit more finesse, a way to bring the atmosphere of dread and suspense to the surface. Cutter did a great job on that front, creating an intense and all-encompassing sense of “wrongness” that never quite leaves you. The scenes in Little Heaven are especially well-written, where it feels like the squalor, degeneracy and madness are constantly closing in on you from all sides.

    Now, if only I felt the same love for the character development. In theory, the protagonists should have worked better for me. Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva are the tough-as-nails sort, killers and bounty hunters with checkered pasts. I have no problems reading about morally ambiguous characters—in fact, I enjoy them, and it’s great when their authors manage to make them sympathetic and likeable. But regretfully, I found it really hard to care about anyone in this book, which also likely dampened my enthusiasm for the story. All the characters were too thinly sketched for my tastes; they were flat, unchanging, and I just didn’t think enough attention was paid to them overall.

    The term “old school horror” also seems to get tossed around a lot when discussing this book, which I’d say is pretty spot on. Good news, perhaps, for readers who enjoy the older stylings of Stephen King. Bad news on the other hand for yours truly, who has always found King’s earlier work to be excessively wordy and bloated (which is why I could never get through his books like It). As such, I was really not all that surprised when I came to experience the same ennui with Little Heaven.

    Which all comes down to why I’m sure this is simply a case of “wrong book, wrong time” or “Sorry, Little Heaven, it’s not you, it’s me.” As much as I’ve enjoyed Nick Cutter in the past, sadly this one didn’t quite live up to my expectations, though of course that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Personal taste being what it is, and with mine being more capricious than most, I hope this won’t dissuade anyone from trying the book out for themselves if the description sounds like something you might enjoy. Indeed, take everything I say here with a grain of salt since the vast majority of other reviews I’ve seen so far have been positively glowing. If the premise interests you, I highly recommend giving it a try.

  • Edward Lorn
    May 25, 2016

    DNF @ 15%.

    I just don't care about anything going on in this book. It's taken me a month and a half to get to fifteen percent. This makes me sad, so I'm moving on. There are other books waiting on me.

  • Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
    Jan 03, 2017

    When I started this, I thought I was going to like it, but then it went on and on. I really feel this story could have been told in half as many pages. This is so long. The horror aspects are few and far between and nothing we haven't seen before. Mysterious monster and voice in the woods, calling to people and taking children, who come back changed and crazy.

    The three main characters are guns-for-hire, a rag-tag crew who are hesitantly teamed up. They are okay characters, but nothing s

    When I started this, I thought I was going to like it, but then it went on and on. I really feel this story could have been told in half as many pages. This is so long. The horror aspects are few and far between and nothing we haven't seen before. Mysterious monster and voice in the woods, calling to people and taking children, who come back changed and crazy.

    The three main characters are guns-for-hire, a rag-tag crew who are hesitantly teamed up. They are okay characters, but nothing special.

    There is a cult with a crazy leader. Cult and crazy leader is creepy, but again, it doesn't feel like anything new.

    It's not bad, just not holding my interest. I'm about halfway through and that means still another 250 or so pages left. I don't feel motivated to continue. Meh. :/

    I feel kind of guilty for not finishing it, but... I tried.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Jun 06, 2016

    Find all of my reviews at:

    What happened??????? Maybe I don’t speak Canadian . . . .

    I pulled a real Ron 2.0 and read this over a month ago without ever summing up my feelings. I thought dragging my feet would work to my benefit, but I’m still the first effing person to post a review. Now I realize it’s time to rip off the Band-Aid and just puke it all out here.

    I was soooooooooooooooooooooooo excited w

    Find all of my reviews at:

    What happened??????? Maybe I don’t speak Canadian . . . .

    I pulled a real Ron 2.0 and read this over a month ago without ever summing up my feelings. I thought dragging my feet would work to my benefit, but I’m still the first effing person to post a review. Now I realize it’s time to rip off the Band-Aid and just puke it all out here.

    I was soooooooooooooooooooooooo excited when I saw a new release from Nick Cutter.

    I’m pretty sure I’m his number one fan. (Trudi would probably say otherwise, but I’ll whip her ass in a cage match if I have to in order to prove it.)

    The basics of the story are that three people with quite a sordid past are hired to work together in order to check up on a kid who may

    be living in a cult in New Mexico – but there ends up being so much more to the Black Rock location than meets the eye.

    Sounds decent, right? Well, it wasn’t really. It took until about the 20% mark to figure out what the hell was even going on due to it beginning with the main characters’ backstories (which eventually made sense and were 100% necessary, but while reading had me wondering when the hell the awesome culty stuff was ever going to start). And then we got to the cult . . .

    Now I understand that

    only a handful of people come to mind when the term “religious cult” is mentioned, but seriously with this bullshit???? I mean all the way down to the pompadour and aviators . . .

    And the story itself? Sadly it wasn’t fresh either . . . .

    But enough with the bad. Let’s talk about some good. To begin with, other than

    Reverend Amos, I dug the characters and they had pretty awesome chemistry with each other too . . .

    Next, while things seemed to kind of churn around in one place for too long with nothing really going on, the ending wound up being pretty satisfactory.

    And finally, no one does gross like Cutter does gross. We’re talking a real barf-o-rama with this one . . .

    Why thank you Jonah Hill. If I were rating only for the puke factor this would get all the stars. Unfortunately that’s not the case, so 2 Stars it must be.

    just couldn’t hold a candle to Cutter’s other stuff. But don’t take my word for it – read it for yourself. After all . . . .

    Ha! Not really (the bored part, not the appreciating Canada part). I

    appreciate Nick Cutter. Almost to an unhealthy degree.

    . . . .

  • Leah Polcar
    Sep 28, 2016

    4.5

    You know, I didn't love

    and I am 100% not a Nick Cutter Fangurrrl. However, the premise of this book intrigued me and it wasn't as if

    was bad, I just didn't find it to be the genre-redefining-blasting-Stephen-King-out-of-the-park-amazing-adventure-ride everyone else thought it was. Nonetheless, here's the premise (how cool is this?):

    4.5

    You know, I didn't love

    and I am 100% not a Nick Cutter Fangurrrl. However, the premise of this book intrigued me and it wasn't as if

    was bad, I just didn't find it to be the genre-redefining-blasting-Stephen-King-out-of-the-park-amazing-adventure-ride everyone else thought it was. Nonetheless, here's the premise (how cool is this?):

    I loved this book for its sheer fun-a-palooza. I felt that Cutter revels in the sheer, can I say fun again, okay, joy of horror in

    . Not only is there a tight plot, and amazing characters in Minerva, Ebenezer, and especially Micah, but man, is there just some sheer reveling in horror tropes here. And not just tropes, but inventions on these tropes – for example, one seriously scary monster is just a henchman for an even worse sort of thing which can appear as a freakin' baby! (I swear, this doesn't spoil anything, but as I write this I realize this sounds so absurd that maybe people think we are in the world of the bizarro, but no, this works in some weird Cutter-way). It is really quite inventive.

    This isn't a perfect book. Cutter tends to be repetitive here – there are only so many times we can describe the same scene – and worse, he has a tendency to repeat the same scene while

    explaining the scene. For example, I do not know how many times people could not explain what they were seeing. I won't quote, but it was like, “Wow, it was so mind-blowing, my mind could not process” and “I will not describe this because it was so not able to be processed yadda yadda yadda”. But then again, I read an early copy, so maybe they will cut some of this. But even if they don't, it is worth plowing on, because the good bits, which is most of this book, are so freakin' worth it.

    Read it.

    Buy, Burn, or Borrow? Buy! And send one to your friend.

  • Char
    Jan 05, 2017

    is an extraordinary story! That doesn't mean it was a perfect story, but it was fun.

    I'll refrain from going too deeply into the plot, but I will give a brief summary so I can talk about the few things that bothered me. Three bounty hunters meet up in the 60's, (and again some years later), and agree to help a woman check on her nephew, who had been taken by her brother-in-law to an isolated spot in the mountains. This spot being where the cult known as Little Heaven is located.

    is an extraordinary story! That doesn't mean it was a perfect story, but it was fun.

    I'll refrain from going too deeply into the plot, but I will give a brief summary so I can talk about the few things that bothered me. Three bounty hunters meet up in the 60's, (and again some years later), and agree to help a woman check on her nephew, who had been taken by her brother-in-law to an isolated spot in the mountains. This spot being where the cult known as Little Heaven is located. Together, they all discover there is a LOT more going on in this settlement than just a warped, cruel "religion".

    What I liked most about this story was its creativity. Yes, I saw similarities to Stephen King's work, (a lot of them, really), but I didn't find this tale to be derivative-I took it as an homage to the King instead. In fact, I think some of the scenes with the leader, (read: insane cult leader), the baby, (oh, that baby: SHUDDER), and the "Long Walker" (you'll see), would have made Stephen King himself jealous.

    At times though, it seemed like Little Heaven didn't know what it wanted to be-between the main cult story, the interactions of the bounty hunters, the current and past time lines, the

    in the woods and in the rock-there was a lot going on. I'm not exactly sure why, but at times I found my mind wandering. Maybe if the story were a little more tight and focused that would have helped? As I said, I'm not quite sure.

    Whenever I found that happening, some piece of writing or creative incident would set me right back on the path. I found this particular quote to be beautiful:

    Overall though, this tale's creativity and imagination beckoned to me like a bright star moving across the sky, and I willingly followed it-right down into the dark below the big, black rock. What's hiding down there? You'll have to read this book to find out! I recommend that you do.

    Available January 10th here:

    *Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

  • Arah-Lynda
    Jan 09, 2017

    A tri

    A trio of bounty hunters meet up in the 60’s, well they actually almost kill each other, but this story is not really about that.  Well except for Minerva.  She may have been hired to kill MIcah, but Ebenezer, now that was personal as we will soon discover.  In any event they meet a woman that Micah is drawn to.  Her name is Ellen and she wants to hire him, to track down her nephew who has been trundled off to some religious cult in the outback of nowhere, New Mexico.  

    But hold on,we actually meet Micah, Ebenezer and Minerva for the first time some fifteen years later in 1980.  Micah’s daughter Petty has been abducted in the dark of night and Micah is seeking the assistance of Ebenezer and Minerva to rescue her.  They know where they have to go.  They have been there before.  

    Which bring us back to that first trip fiteen years earlier.  Long before this group, who have to abandon their vehicle and travel through the woods on foot, ever reach Little Heaven, the religious settlement, they are unsettled by strange and disturbing events in the woods where they camp for the night.

    This is old school horror folks, you know the kind, with all the juicy bits.  And Cutter does a great job drawing out all his characters including the  religious leader and his henchmen.  Seriously if you are looking to scare me, just let in the religious fanatics.  That right there is some pretty scary shit, but Cutter gives us more.  Something is not right about this place.   There are strange shapes making grotesque sounds deep in the woods.   And it would seem they do not want anyone to leave, most especially not  the children.  But why and who or what is controlling these hideous aberrations.  And what is up with that monolithic, black rock around which all vegetation seems to have withered.

    But first a few things you should know:

    Do

    drink the Kool-Aid and do

    follow the Pied Piper.  

    You have been warned.   

    My thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster and Nick Cutter for an advance reading copy.