The Ritual (2012) – Adam Nevill


A  short time ago, I googled scary novels, because it has been a long time since I read something that really got to me, and I haven’t ever read anything that required me to leave a light on at night, and though I recognized and had read a number of the books that were recommended, I had never read anything by Adam Nevill, and The Ritual was apparently a very scary book.

I will say this, I didn’t have to leave any lights on, but that’s because I didn’t want to put it down and stop reading! It also did have a really good creep factor going, especially in the first part of the book, there was a ball of nervous tension just building in my chest as I wondered what new terror would be on the next page.

The plot of the book is deceptively simple, and something we’ve seen, heard and read countless times before… a group of hikers, in this book named Hutch, Luke, Dom and Phil (four university friends who have decided to get together and catch up, though Luke finds he has now become a bit of an outsider amongst his friends), take a short cut through the woods on a hiking/camping trip that ends up being anything but a shortcut, especially when they stumble across an eerie, deserted abode filled with skulls, artifacts, and something truly frightening in its attic bedroom.

As all four of them become haunted by nightmares that none of them want to share, but are undeniably influenced by where they are, they become aware that someTHING is in the woods with them, stalking them…


In less able hands, or with a low-budget, something that doesn’t apply to the written word so much, this story would be just one of many, a new take on the classic tales, but Nevill knows how to build both the fear and the dread… hinting at what may be stalking them, never giving its prey or the reader a truly good look at what is stalking them – which for me just fires my imagination all the more.

The book is split into two parts, and initially the first part was my favorite, but then when I cottoned to where Nevill was going in the second part, that ball of nervous tension just tightened in my chest again. Nevill just has a way of just putting you off your ease, and in my case uttering the occasional ‘oh, shit,’ at some new gruesome discovery.

I love how everything in The Ritual comes together, and the way things in the oldest and deepest parts of the forest have remained hidden away from man, and as demonstrated in the book, can be clever, dangerous, fast, and terrifyingly silent.

Any book that starts with the line – “And on the second day things did not get better.” – you know you’d better buckle up, because it’s going to be a rough ride, and this one doesn’t let up, literally until the last page. Wow.

I like the fact that I have now discovered an author I hadn’t heard of, and the fact that he has other books out there for me to read! Have you read any?


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