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Hater by David Moody
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Hater (original 2006; edition 2010)

by David Moody

Series: Hater (1)

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4883921,022 (3.35)23
Member:larocka
Title:Hater
Authors:David Moody
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2010), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Hater by David Moody (2006)

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Posted in October 2010 to my Livejournal, review of both Autumn and Hater by David Moody:

Both of these books (Autumn, and Hater) were previously offered as self-published online downloads. Then Hater got picked up by an actual publisher and did really well, so now Autumn, one of Moody's earliest works, is being published as well. I had to read Autumn for professional review, and I was excited to do so, for I love zombies (fictional zombies, of course -- real zombies are another thing entirely. I hate to admit it, but I would be dead within the first few hours of any zombie apocalypse, because I'm just not all that quick of mind or action). My excitement over reading Autumn lasted about five pages and quickly turned to real pain. On the other hand, Hater had been on my to-read list for a while and had gotten great reviews -- a couple of stars in review journals I trust, even -- but I couldn't reconcile the praise it got with how terribly bad Autumn was. I figured, Moody must have drastically improved as a writer somewhere between those two novels, so I decided to give him a shot and read his more recent book (recent as "in the order written", not "in the order published").

And yes, Hater is a much better book than Autumn, but not so good that I will read the rest of the series. Not so good, in fact, that I didn't skim over certain sections when they began to get repetitive, or skim over the ending, when I was already so far ahead of the plot that I could just skip a couple tedious pages and land where I expected to be. But it is has a lot going for it as a mindless zombie thriller (it has lots of gore; it's very visual; it sets up a thick sense of dread hanging over the main character; and it's fast-paced).

In Autumn, we are stuck with following a small band of extremely dull people as they hole up in a farmhouse and have endless discussion about what they should do next. (Hint: not much.) The zombies, even when they finally become mobile and violent, are not much of a threat and are not really scary. In Hater, we follow one person in particular -- Danny -- as he witnesses his life slowly change from a rational one in which he knows his place to one filled with violence, paranoia, and government cover-ups. Danny is your typical office drudge who dislikes his work, regrets the direction his life is going (nowhere), and loves but is simultaneously resentful of his wife and kids. Because of that, is he much easier to relate to than the cardboard people we get in Autumn, and while he never became someone I liked, he did earn my sympathy and my interest. His voice was also distinctive -- Hater is narrated in first person, present tense, which gives it a very effective immediacy. Reading it is effortless and fast.

Moody does a lot of the same things in Autumn and Hater, but he does them better in Hater. Mostly. In both books, he shows the effects of the virus on different people, one in each chapter. In Autumn, we get several short chapters in a row in which a new character is shocked and horrified when everybody drops dead around him or her. By the fourth time, you're like, yeah, I get what's going on, I get the point, can we move on now? He set the same scene over and over and over without really telling us anything. It's a technique that would work well in a movie, when you can do it in a shocking ten-minute montage or something, but not in a book. It didn't help that, aside from location, each of these scenes is a mirror of the rest, and none of the "characters" turned out to be anybody. In Hater, Moody does the same thing, only by this time he's learned to space out these "discovery" chapters, each one appearing at the beginning of a new section of the novel. They still get repetitive (yeah, character goes crazy and violently kills someone nearby, I get it) but at least they don't happen all at once. For some readers, it could lead to an increasing sense of tension, as we wait for this to happen to our main character, Danny. You know the violence has to directly affect him at some point, so it definitely sets the mood. For me, though, I started skipping over them about halfway through the book, because even though the gore was excellent, they distracted from Danny's story, which was the only story I was interested in. I think Moody should have quit them by the middle of the book, when they were no longer revealing anything new about how the virus works.

Hater would make a good movie. So might Autumn. (Good thing, right, since they've both been optioned.) The premise of both books isn't terribly original but they fit well within the "virus" zombie genre and I think as movies they might actually be scary. Hater also has a suffocating sense of paranoia, of not really knowing what's going on but knowing there's something larger out there at work, that Moody pulls off pretty successfully. Things go to hell slowly, with just the right amount of paranoia taking hold and just the right amount of worry that the paranoia is more of a problem than the reality of the violent attacks. I was able to look past the mediocre clunky writing in Hater because of being so immersed in Danny's head and because of the relentless pacing. (The only thing relentless in Autumn is the boredom.)

So, though I probably won't read any more of Moody's books, I will go see the movies, and I will probably enjoy them. ( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
Ingeniously conceived and executed concepts. Seriously deep and complex commentary. Very violent and definitely not for everyone. Extremely engaging page-turner for me. More on this later. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
Hater is the first in the Hater Trilogy and originally an online novel that the filmmaker Guillermo del Toro sponsored into print (and purchased the film rights to.) It's a horror novel about outbreaks of unprovoked violence that have reached pandemic levels. The aggressors have been labeled as "Haters" by the media and the government has warned all unaffected people to bunker down. Danny McCoyne, frustrated worker at a Parking Fine Processing office, henpecked husband, and exasperated father, bears witness to the early stages of the outbreak; and when it becomes clear that the social fabric of his town has been rent, he secures his family in their home. The sections where Danny is locked in, cut off from media interpretation of events and not knowing what is going on, are reminiscent of I am Legend (by Richard Matheson) in that we see the protagonist undergo the psychological change of the besieged; but the main interest and appeal of the story lies within the chapters in which there is a fundamental change in perspective. This is where moral certainty disappears and the reader/listener wonders who the true villains of the piece are. Unfortunately, the ending of the novel is poorly executed in terms settling up on the score of moral equivocation (Is a preemptive strike morally correct?); and unsatisfactory in terms of a denouement. The latter may be to entice readers onto the next installment in the series, Dog Blood; but by the end of Hater it is doubtful whether the listener could care as to what happens next to either Danny or anyone else.

Gerard Doyle is the Irish narrator of Hater. The setting of the story is never specified; but it can be inferred that Hater takes place somewhere in the UK and an Irish setting is as good as any for the story. GD does a great job of narrating the role of the beleaguered, whiny, spineless Danny and taking us through the changes in Danny's life as he becomes more assertive. The pacing of the narrative matches the character's development: Doyle starts off with a lazy, slow pace; but quickens as the tension and action mount.

Redacted from the original blog review at dog eared copy, Hater; 03/08/2012. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Apr 4, 2013 |
Y’all better pray y’all gods that I never EVER turn into the kind of haters in this book… cuz if I do well the wrath of god will have to be renamed to the wrath of alfonso =P ( )
  Alfonso809 | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Lisa, Emma, Katie,
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Simmons, regional manager for a chain of main street discount stores, slipped his change into his pocket then neatly folded his newspaper in half and tucked it under his arm.
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Danny McCoyne witnesses an incident of seemingly random violence but soon dismisses it from his mind. However over the next few days he and his family witness other incidents, each more serious than the last. Reports of riots and violence are soon all over the television news and it seems that anyone can become what the media are calling 'haters,' normal people one moment who are driven to violence the next. People are advised to stay in their homes but are Danny and his family really safe when the 'hate' can strike anyone at any time, no matter where they hide?
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When ordinary people throughout the world suddenly transform into violent killers, an everyday man struggles to retain normalcy and recognize who is trustworthy in a society escalating out of control.

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