Horror Book Review: The Third Hunter (Philip Alexander Baker)

Philip Alexander Baker has quickly become one of my favourite modern horror writers having thoroughly impressed with The House on Hanging Hill Lane. A dark and twisted tale of supernatural horror, demonic entities, and witchcraft. It was the first book in a planned trilogy, and left me hungry for more. (Read that review here).

Well, more has come, and Baker has outdone himself with the sequel, The Third Hunter. Not only upping the ante in all areas of supernatural horror and folklore, but building the world of witchcraft to a much more believable level and showcasing the effects of trauma in astounding ways. A story about witches and demons shouldn’t be this thought-provoking.

Simply put, The Third Hunter is a gobsmacking and unforgettable read.

The Third Hunter picks back up from the tale told in The House on Hanging Lane, but two years later. Daphne Locke, the young witch, hasn’t forgotten her battle with the demons, and her scars run very deep. These scars have stopped her being able to connect with people and progress her witch ‘training’, which in turn, leave her very frustrated.

No matter how much she tries, she just can’t escape the darkness that almost consumed her, and she is always frightened that it may return.

Her fears seem to start to become a reality though when a series of horrible events occur in and around Hanging Hill Lane. There’s a beach massacre a few miles south, her old school friend goes missing, and a high-profile missing child mysteriously reappears. Nothing seems connected, but Daphne can’t shake the feeling that the third demon from a few years ago has returned, and this time it’s even more determined to destroy her.

The Third Hunter is all about connecting the dots, both for Daphne and the reader. How do any of these events link together is extremely hard to see, at first, but across the pages of The Third Hunter the true horror will be unveiled, and it is arguably more intense than anything the first story had to offer.

One part of that comes from the slower pace of this story, which allows moments to take a breath. Another part of that comes from the expanded personalities of characters, in particular Daphne, and how she handles feelings of helplessness. She is likable and relatable, especially when it comes to how her trauma affects her relationships now. Shunning any and all affection, suffering from panic attacks, and hating herself for feeling this way. It’s a masterful way to write about mental health and the long-term effects of a harrowing experience.

That portrayal was my favourite aspect of The Third Hunter, but coming very close to that is the detail Philip Alexander Baker goes into regarding hereditary abuse and how trauma can be passed down through generations. These segments of the story left me mouth agape with how well written they are.

This is why The Third Hunter is such a step-forward from The House on Hanging Hill Lane, even though that story itself was fantastic.

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Of course, Baker does have a mind for horror and folklore too, so fans of descriptive savagery that could turn stomachs and fans of the fantastical will find themselves very satisfied here. Regarding the latter, Baker introduces several new layers of folklore, and utilises them in interesting ways.

It is a vibrant read, and while it might not have the energy of the first book, it holds the attention completely. No spoilers, but this story stays with you, and has an ending that can rightfully be called remarkable. This is a trilogy, so we have one more story to come. I personally can’t wait.




Links

Amazon – UK | Amazon – US | Goodreads

Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

The Third Hunter (Philip Alexander Baker)
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