Creature of the Night is one of those great books that you start reading because you think it is going to be about one thing – and you finish reading because it’s actually about something else.
Don’t be fooled by the blurb: yes, there’s a spooky cottage where a young girl was supposedly murdered; yes, the last tenant of the cottage mysteriously disappeared and yes, something that is definitely not a dog is using the dog flap to get into the house at night. Yet despite the real scariness that Thompson invokes, this is not a classic ghost / fairy story, and Robbie is a city boy: hoodie, delinquent and gang-member. It is his story that really grips, his unknowing and very gradual transformation as he is forced to go and live in the country, away from his Dublin-based friends. By the end of the book you are willing him to make the right decision and stay there.
Creature of the Night is a fantastic read and thoroughly deserves its place on this year’s Carnegie shortlist. This is a gritty and realistic novel, with bad language and drug references – hence unsuitable for younger readers.
Recommended by Laura Hutchings
• Kate Thompson is a fascinating writer; if you liked the slightly other-worldly aspect of this book, try her The New Policeman. If you liked the grittiness, try The Beguilers.
• The 2009 Carnegie list is great. Try Kevin Brooks’s Black Rabbit Summer – another book about how experiences change you. It’s a tougher read, but well worth it. Or try another Irish writer on list – Siobhan Dowd with Bog Child.
• Kevin Brooks’s Road of the Dead is another book that blends the mystical and the gritty.
10 months ago