The Handyman Method by Nick Cutter and Andrew F. Sullivan Review

As I’ve said before, the best thing about horror is how open-ended it is as a genre. Authors are free to interpret its meaning any way they choose, and the results mean that we receive books all over the spectrum. From ghost stories and haunted houses, to torture, to slashers, to children’s horror and so forth, there’s lots for everybody who’s interested. Hell, it almost seems like there are sub-genres on top of sub-genres, even if there aren’t that many. This is why I get so excited about new horror books, because I never know what to expect.

After reading through Craig Davidson’s Saturday Night Ghost Club, which was excellent, I decided to start The Handyman Method. That’s his next, and upcoming, book with Andrew F. Sullivan as co-author. However, unlike the former novel, this one carries one of his pen names that may be very familiar to you: Nick Cutter, aka. the author of The Troop, Little Heaven and more. If you haven’t heard of him before, he’s a pretty popular horror novelist, especially within the online community.

The Handyman Method is a dark, disturbing and very well written haunted house story, which borrows from some of the greats like Amityville Horror. It centres upon the Saban family, which consists of thirty-somethings Trent and Rita, as well as their young son, Milo. Together, they’ve bought and moved into a brand new home. It’s the first of its kind in the development, which the builders say will be completed in a couple of years, so everything around them is barren outside of some foundations. Hell, their lawn doesn’t even have any sod or grass on it. It’s just dirt!

Upon moving into what should be a beautiful new home, Trent discovers that there’s a crack in their walk-in closet in the master bedroom. He gets angry, like anyone would, but decides to fix it himself because he thinks the builders are incompetent and may not get to it soon enough. This begins a downward spiral in which Trent begins to see issues everywhere and starts to get fixated on being the required handyman to his own new build home.

From the start, Trent relies on how-to-videos on YouTube, and also becomes obsessed with those made by a burly and misogynistic man named Hank. Handyman Hank seems to upload new videos all the time, and there’s always one for the task at hand so that’s all Trent watches. Then, he becomes unable to do anything without listening to Hank, who has a lot to say about women, the youth of today, how a man should live and all of those things. It plays on Trent’s sanity, as does everything else going on.

You may be thinking: Why would I want to read a book about a man doing DIY home improvement? Because it’s a great book, and one of the best novels I’ve read in some time, not to mention a new personal favourite. Trent’s decent, and what his family goes through upon moving into this new home hooked me from start to finish and didn’t let go. There’s a lot here for folks who like haunted houses, descents into madness, family horror and the unknown, and it’s all really well done. That is, despite the fact that its main character is a man’s man who goes to Home Depot every day and buys tons of tools.

I grew up in a family where doing things yourself was the way to go, and I have a very handy father. I wasn’t born with a hammer in my hand, though, and am the least handy person around or close to it. Despite this, I really enjoyed my second Nick Cutter novel and will recommend it to many people.

This review will now come to a close, because I can’t think of much more to say without spoiling things and already worry that I’ve gone too far. Just know that The Handyman Method isn’t some boring home improvement book, and that it is the ‘Book of Terror’ advertised on the cover. It’s also a very well written novel, and one of the best horror stories I’ve ever read. Check it out when it drops in August!

This review is based on a copy of the book that we were provided with.

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