It takes a lot of unnerve me. As a lifelong fan of horror I’ve become ‘hardened’ to most of its tropes and darkest ideas. So when I stumbled upon The Cavern I almost kept scrolling. Almost. There was something about the cover that sent a chill down my spine, so I decided to take a punt. I brewed a pot of coffee and sat down for what I thought would be a solid read.
Boy was I wrong.
This book is terrifying. The Cavern tells the story of an expedition into a newly uncovered caving system near the outback town of Pintalba. As the group descends down into the bowels of the earth things go wrong, and the expedition finds themselves suddenly fighting to survive as a savage subterranean predator targets them one by one.
I have to admit, once I started to read this book I struggled to put it down. Hodge nails the claustrophobic atmosphere of caving and the tension that is critical to any good monster story. There were moments where chills genuinely rolled over my skin as the monster stalked and struck at the expedition. The characters of the group are all well fleshed out and layered, and the monster itself is something that has crawled out of the deepest and darkest abyss the universe can offer. They say the devil is in the detail, and Hodge’s background as a ER Nurse serves him well when describing the graphic demise of some of the victims. This book is not for the faint of heart! By the end of the story I was a nervous wreck, and I honestly thought about leaving the light on that night.
The Cavern is one of the best stories I’ve read in recent times. It’s a two hundred page piece of nightmare fuel that will leave you petrified of the depths beneath our feet.
5 out of 5 stars.
You can buy The Cavern from here.