Although the film adaptation has long been one of my all time favourites, to my shame, I had never read this classic book until it was recently recommended to me. And wow. I think I likened the experience of reading it to being cosseted in a dimly lit parlour full of old friends, curled up in front of an open fire, shins burning yet unable to move. The plight of young John Harper, an innocent child shadowed by sinister evil while trying to protect his little sister, Pearl – and to protect the legacy of his late father’s twisted last wish – had me riveted all the way to the final denouement. First published in 1953, and inspired by a real serial killer, the character of The Hunter, fake preacher, Harry Powell, is the creepiest depiction of relentless evil I think I have ever read. You won’t forget the preacher Powell. He will crawl right in there, under your skin as author, David Grubb’s gothic prose assaults your senses.