Read The Acolyte by Nick Cutter Online


Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts. Murtag's got problems - one of his partners is a zealot, and he's in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can't take away its faithJonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts. Murtag's got problems - one of his partners is a zealot, and he's in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can't take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn't get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch The Quints, aka: Heaven's Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem. And Jonah Murtag's got another problem. The biggest and most worrisome... Jonah isn't a believer anymore....

Title : The Acolyte
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781771483285
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Acolyte Reviews

  • karen
    2019-05-28 07:34

    when noir just isn't rough enough, release nick cutter.breathtakingly violent, there are situations in this book that made even ME squirm, and i'm basically just a jaded husk of "nothing fazes me, son." this is his take on what can happen when organized religion steamrolls personal liberties, and it's just brutal rolled in gruesome dusted with wrong. cutter's previous two novels have had scenes of sad and wasteful violence (dear god, not the TURTLE!) but this one kicks the asses of all others on a scale that will make your brain recoil. in a good way, naturally. there is a scene towards the end of the book - just a little sentence or two involving eyeballs and what can be done to them that gave me the full-body shudders. those if you with animal-cruelty triggers - do not enter. because this book nearly made me forget that poor turtle with dear god, not the FROGS!!!it's written in a very different style from both The Deep and The Troop. those were both written in the stephen-king-osphere, where creepy things happened to ordinary folks and the eeriness resulted from the familiarity of the characters and setting layered over by supernatural terrors. (okay, not so much the setting for The Deep, but we've all seen submarine movies, so it's a familiarity once-removed.) and we've all seen and read religious/political dystopias, but cutter's particular brand here is all his own. gritty and hardboiled, with wonderfully precise details in his world-building. it's a crime story and a social commentary all at once, where the chosen few - the acolytes - administer violent justice upon religious and social dissenters in a christian fundamentalist nightmarescape, all told with an Ellroyian flavour. bombs and preachers, circuit freaks and animal sacrifice, shotguns that turn people into red mashed potato, cannibals and mercy kills and emphatically UNmerciful kills. and's chilling and fast-paced, with very short punchy chapters and perfectly concise lines bigger than their word count: Yeah, I could have. which restraint punctuates a beautifully understated moment. oh, it is a vicious book.the thing is, i have met nick cutter, when he was wearing his craig davidson skin*, and he is such a sweet, affable gent. and he's sweet and affable enough to have included an afterword here that basically says: "i am not a monster - this is just a book" where he apologizes for some of what he's written and entreats you to not hold it against him. oh, canada…so, while it is nothing like his first two in the cutterverse, it is a deviation, not a disappointment. read it if you have the balls for it.* not literally, obviously.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-06-05 01:34

    Find all of my reviews at:“LET YOUR SINS GO UNPUNISHED.”Dear tiny 8 pound 6 ounce Baby Jesus (don’t even know a word), WTF did I just read?I fell hard and fast for Nick Cutter when I read his debut The Troop . When he followed that up with The Deep, I knew I had found someone special. But this? Holy crap. Whole ‘notha level of storytelling. I logged on to Goodreads in order to see how people were shelving this. What did I find? NO ONE has read it. 38 ratings and a measly 14 reviews? What the hell is wrong with you people?!?!?!?!?! With numbers that small, shelving doesn’t really help too much. However, I did see that “Horror” took first place. I’m making up a new shelf – “Realistic Dystopian Fiction”. I’ve read my fair share of dystopian books. Everything from zombies to superflus to post-nuclear holocaust, etc. and I’m telling you The Acolyte could be classified as a “horror” simply because it seems so horrifyingly plausible.The Acolyte takes place in the not-so-distant future where religion rules. The divine leader? One known as The Prophet . . . who brings the message of God to the masses via his superchurch. All other religions? Illegal. Oh, you can work if you’re a Jew – you just have to make sure you’re back behind the concertina wire of the ghetto before curfew. Muslims, on the other hand, are a whole different story. That’s where our MC comes in to play. Jonah Murtaugh . . . (Nick Cutter, you really can’t name a character anything resembling Murtaugh without me picturing that)is an Acolyte. It’s his job to keep the city safe from religious heretics who refuse to follow the one true faith. However, when bombings start happening everywhere across the city (including fanatic neighborhoods), it’s a race against time for Jonah to find the culprit before all of New Bethlehem is eradicated.This being the third book of Cutter’s that I absolutely flipped my shit over, it’s fairly safe to say I’m a fangirl. Talk about an author who is just WILLING. TO. GO. THERE. Nothing is off limits when it comes to a Cutter book. Religion is a pretty sticky subject to want to tackle in the first place, but tackle all of the crazy zealots in one book???? Balls of steel, my friend. Balls of steel. Fair warning: This being a Nick Cutter novel, there are gruesome scenes. While I’m not someone who is bothered by gore and understand the point of some of the nasty . . . There was one scene toward the end that was just . . . . I wasn’t “disturbed” by it (I live with Mitchell – I don’t get disturbed by much) and I have a strong stomach, so I wasn’t even disgusted. I just found it to be . . . unnecessary. It was like Cutter realized he had made it 90% through the book without making the reader dry-heave and just had to throw something completely over-the-top in to the mix. He didn’t need to and this book loses a Star because of it. That minor complaint noted, I still highly recommend The Acolyte. I would also be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to take another jab at Preacher Osteen . . . ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!

  • Ɗắɳ2.☊
    2019-06-20 01:25

    ★★★☆☆½This is a very odd little book. I'm having a difficult time wrapping my mind around what I just read. It's sort of like an updated version of 1984 with a strong religious slant to it, but without the Big Brother elements. Christianity has been deemed the One True Faith, all other religions illegal.This book begs further discussion, so I'll attempt to work up a proper review sometime soon. Um no, I guess not!Footnote: The story is filled with very dark images and extreme violence. Religious bigotry also plays a major theme, thus this may be considered highly offensive to any people of strong faith. You've been warned.

  • Trudi
    2019-06-24 00:24

    I don't know how to describe the mad, dark, mash-up genius contained in the pages of Nick Cutter's upcoming release The Acolyte -- but I've found myself in a similar state of speechlessness with other titles released by the incomparable ChiZine Publications. Their motto is Embrace the Odd and embrace it they do with abandon. ChiZine's book covers alone are enough to send this bibliophile into paroxysms of delight. Here are a few of my favorites:ChiZine has also recently gotten into the graphic novel game and I adore this cover too:Let me wrap up the fangirling over cover art to conclude that ChiZine is a wickedly weird and dangerous publishing house ruthlessly seeking out unique voices in speculative fiction. There is nothing safe or sanitized or boring about them. And while I'm not always in the mood to enter into the wacky landscapes they pimp, I'm very grateful that they exist, and very proud that they are Canadian. Nick Cutter (a pseudonym for Craig Davidson) blasted onto the horror scene in 2014 with The Troop -- the book Stephen King declared scared the hell out of him. For the record, it scared the hell out of me too. In January, Cutter followed up with an equally gripping and richly written sci-fi horror novel The Deep. Fans of either or both of those books should not expect the same kind of story in The Acolyte. I'm not surprised it was ChiZine who published it for him because it is an odd, intense mixture of horror, police procedural, dystopia, and noir. It is violent, contemplative, thematic, and disturbing. It's not a book you 'enjoy' or 'savor': it is one you endure and survive. And that's all I'm going to say about it. Read the plot summary if you want, but it's not going to help prepare you for what lies in wait in its pages. If you are feeling adventurous and brave, and want a taste of something not so mainstream that will take you off the beaten path into a darker part of the forest, then by all means take The Acolyte home with you. An advanced reading copy was provided by the publisher for review.

  • Brandon
    2019-06-02 03:30

    Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts. Murtag’s got problems – one of his partners is a zealot, and he’s in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can’t take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn’t get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch The Quints, aka: Heaven’s Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem. And Jonah Murtag’s got another problem. The biggest and most worrisome… Jonah isn’t a believer any more.I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.It seems as if with each subsequent book, Cutter is looking to see just how far he can push his audience out of their comfort zone and with The Acolyte, Cutter has written a novel that will burrow under your skin and stay with you long after you put it down. If you’re looking for an experience similar to The Deep or The Troop, you won’t find it here. Don’t get me wrong, the stomach churning violence is in full force, but The Acolyte is very much its own story.Having read most of Cutter/Davidson’s catalogue, no other novel of his has made me squirm nearly as much as The Acolyte. Some of the scenes are tougher to get through than a two dollar steak and while its got a lot to do with just how brutal his imagery can be, it’s more to do with the fact that this scenario is entirely plausible. With the majority of the world’s violence rooted in religious extremism, an entire western civilization ruled under strict Christian fundamentalism isn’t that hard to imagine, and it’s beyond terrifying.By no means is The Acolyte an easy read and I certainly don’t mean for that to be a deterrent. The thing I like most about Cutter is that he challenges me as a reader. While many authors can write scenes that churn my stomach, it takes a special breed to make those scenes matter, to develop characters and worlds so strongly and slowly just to tear them down so swiftly and in such a devastating manner.Also posted @ Every Read Thing.

  • Sadie | sadie_reads_them_all
    2019-06-14 06:15

    My first review of 2018!A Nick Cutter book, how appropriate.I might be biased so you can read this review with a grain of salt. Nick Cutter/Craig Davidson is my favorite author right under Stephen King and just before Dennis LeHane. I could be seeing his words through La-La-Land Rose Colored Glasses--(but I doubt it. I still can give honest reviews)The Acolyte. This is a dystopian world ruled by religious fanaticism. Everything, literally everything in this reality is fueled by some kind of hatred towards anything that doesn't smack of white, privileged, Judeo Christianity. The most fascinating part to me was the narrative that came from a protagonist who was heavily influenced and involved in enforcing the religious laws, so all the descriptions of everything came from a perspective that wasn't disgusted by it all but was in fact, knee deep in its practices.The descriptions of the setting had a very futuristic vibe--like a religious planet from the Star Wars saga or almost like a Blade Runner feel--with the cops of the future being these "spiritual law enforcement" officials--rooftops blazing with neon crucifixes and corner stores called "Puritan Pantry", Nick Cutter left no stone overturned here--everything normal had been given a religious white wash and it was equal parts horrifying and disgusting.There was also a bit of a "Name of the Rose" feel, if you ever read that religious/thriller/mystery by Umberto Eco. It's amazing how an author can be so clearly horrified by the subject matter but can somehow manage to write from a place of static acceptance and present to us this sick alternate reality as though these are just the facts--the way things are--without letting the subtext drip with sarcasm or disapproval. So keep that in mind when you read this because there are 1,000 ways to be offended by the story and the characters. There are a lot of racial slurs, hatred towards any religion that is not the accepted one of the future, hatred towards anything that doesn't look heterosexual, just a lot of unadulterated hate--so you have to steel yourself against letting that stuff get under your skin and let the story play out in the context of that reality--religion unbridled and unchecked--like everything you've read about the Holy Wars and conversion by threat or sword--unleashed.I loved the story and as it reached its climax and started racing towards the end, I knew it was almost over and I was sad to see this one go. I know this is an older book and Craig Davidson would call it "an old chestnut" but this is totally worth a read if you're a Nick Cutter fan. I really, really enjoyed it. Great plot, amazing, insightful writing (as per usual) and a unique approach to a dystopian universe we would never, ever want.

  • Kaora
    2019-06-05 07:22

    We are unique in this view that something within each of us is so valuable it must exist forever in some form, on some plane - heaven, hell. Insects, animals: Their existence is finite. Ours, infinite. Why should we be so special?I read and really enjoyed Nick Cutter's book The Deep, so I was thrilled when I requested this from Netgalley and was approved.Until I started reading. The Deep had tremendous amounts of gore, and descriptions that shocked me and I still gave it 4 stars, but The Acolyte took it a step further with scenes that I found hard to stomach. As a result I found myself struggling to get into this book.I think a large part of it had to do with me over analyzing how this society came to be. I know there are people that believe that blood transfusions are a sin, and would refuse them to family members are dying, but I have a hard time thinking that all society would take a leap backwards as they did in this book to ban any medical intervention other than prayer. That being only one example of how far the society has regressed.But I guess that this book taking it to the extreme in order to get the message across, and if the primary goal was to get me thinking it definitely did succeed. The lessons here on religion and government are valuable.I appreciate an author that keeps pushing the envelope, but for some reason this felt off to me, so I believe this is just a classic case of it's not you, it's me. Recommended for anyone that doesn't mind a book that makes you think through the use of copious amounts of gore.

  • Michael Hicks
    2019-06-01 01:20

    My original The Acolyte audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.I always like a good book that gives the religious-right a much-deserved solid kick in the tuchus. When I heard of Nick Cutter’s The Acolyte, shortly after reading his previous horror novel The Deep, I was more than slightly curious to see his take on American Christian extremism run amok. That said, this book isn’t for the squeamish, the easily-offended, or those who are afraid of having their beliefs challenged. Cutter takes a no holds barred approach, confronting right-wing extremism head on in such a fashion that the hand-wringing crowd would likely deem “offensive.”The story opens with Acolyte Jonah Murtag recalling a scene he witnessed as a child, during The Purges, in which a mentally handicapped Muslim boy is beaten, tied to his bicycle, and then set on fire. It’s a powerful opening, and sets the tone for what follows. The Acolyte is a dark work of dystopian fiction, and also one that is bleakly satirical. Looking at the current slate of GOP nominees, most of whom have publicly admitted to hearing voices in their heads and Kasich’s recent proposal to develop an arm of the government devoted to spreading religious propaganda, the Starbucks red cup scares, and a particular Kentucky Court Clerk, this story is way too plausible, which makes it scarily effective.Cutter takes America’s present-day culture wars against far-right religiosity to a bold new level with a story that quite clearly illustrates that faith is not a virtue. Separation of Church and State is no more – in fact, The Church is the state, and the US operates under the biblical mandates set forth in the New Republican Testament. As an officer of the Faith Crimes unit, Murtag’s duties are to ensure the purity of belief among the citizens of New Bethlehem, rooting out the cultist scourges of Scientologists, Mormons, and homosexuals so they can be sent to conversion camps, where their skulls are cut open and the sin is burnt out of their brains (presuming these “criminals” survive the police raids long enough to make it so far as being arrested).After being assigned to protect The Prophet’s daughter, Eve, and failing when a suicide bombers strikes the nightclub she parties at, Murtag finds himself wounded and accused of terrorism simply for surviving. After enduring a brutal interrogation, and plenty of string pulling for those On High, he is allowed to be reinstated as an Acolyte and charged with finding the perpetrators behind the increasing spate of terror attacks. What follows is a twisty, noir-tinged narrative that follows in the mold of classic detective fiction with plenty of violence, femme fatales, con artists, and criminal conspiracy.The world Murtag inhabits is very well realized, with Cutter drawing on Biblical elements that most believers gloss over or outright ignore, crafting New Bethlehem has a horrendously regressive, pre-Englightment dungeon of sorts. When Murtag goes to confession after murdering a Scientologist, he has to pick a properly-sized animal to sacrifice in a spiritual blood cleansing ritual. The female Acolyte, Doe, Murtag tells us, has hit the limits of her profession thanks to the glass ceiling put in place by Leviticus, which demands she earn less shekels than the men around her because she has the wrong set of genitals. Abortions, of course, are illegal and men have the option of ensuring the viability of their woman’s pregnancy with strong-armed toughs. One bombing victim is left to the care of a hospital where nurses are praying for him around the clock and even have their best practitioner sitting at his bedside. Actual medicine, along with forensic science, has long since been outlawed, you see. Eve’s corpse, meanwhile, becomes a Vaudevillian stage-show prop in The Prophet’s ministrations, an act that would no doubt make him the envy of many real-life prosperity preachers. Cutter gives plenty of details on life following The Purge, most of them horrifying, to illustrate how badly the nation has fallen and in which religious extremism is a part of daily life, infecting the minds and actions of the entire society. As Murtag is keenly aware, and is forced to discover first-hand, it’s a very thin line separating saints from sinners.Jonathan Yen’s narration is pitch-perfect for the tone of this book. He has a gritty, almost-gravely, style that lends itself beautifully to the first-person noir elements that are pervasive in Cutter’s writing, giving the book a sort of L.A. Confidential by way of religious fundamentalism vibe. Murtag is a straight Joe Friday-type, and Yen voices the Just The Facts, Ma’am sensibility wonderfully, but also adopts some natural voice-work for ancillary characters, with his performance of The Quints, a murderous batch of quintuplets, suitably scary and effective. The production values are top-notch, too, with nary a hiccup in the nine-plus hours of listening time.Part horror story, part word of warning, listeners of The Acolyte should at find themselves thankful that this story is only fiction.[Audiobook provided for review by the]

  • Alissa Patrick
    2019-06-13 01:18

    Another really disturbing piece of work from Nick Cutter.A book set in a dystopian society where religion rules, and I mean, really rules. Jonah is an Acolyte, which is a member of the police force in New Bethlehem that arrests people and destroys all artifacts, books and all notions of a different religion than the one that has been branded The One True Religion. They aim to eradicate all other religions and practices. I wouldn't consider this is a horror novel, but then again it's almost hard to categorize Nick Cutter's novels. He is one sick puppy. But I can't get enouugh of his writing and its characters.Triggers: Serious religion goes may be really upset at this book. Also, the violence is pretty gory, including an abortion scene that was just not needed, IMO

  • 11811 (Eleven)
    2019-06-08 01:22

    3.5 stars. This was a unique story focusing on the evils of organized religion in an imaginative way. The cover alone gives you a pretty good idea of where the author goes with this one. With ISIS on the march, I was a little surprised at the particular religion we should all be fearing and couldn't help thinking of actual religious police that already exist in parts of the Middle East but I guess that's where the imagination part comes in.All in all, not quite as good as THE TROOP but far better than THE DEEP.Free copy courtesy of Netgalley.

  • Maxine Marsh
    2019-05-26 01:16

    Courtesy of Netgalley.A weird story. The first two thirds of the book were paced more slowly than the last third, which explodes off the page in a rather intense and harrowing manner. I felt that the worldbuilding was problematic. There was a larger world outside of this one, but it was almost never mentioned. Also problematic was the protag's voice. The book is written in first person but there is almost no insight into the narrator's emotions, thought process, just description of action. Whether this was intentional or not, it is a huge hole in the structure of the story. That being said, the plot was interesting and engaging, and moved along--I was definitely never bored. I appreciate when an author does something different.

  • Gabrielle
    2019-05-29 00:27

    Well, that was messed up. Now I need a book about rainbows and puppies... Vegetarians and people who are triggered by violence against animals should not read this. Actually, only read this if you have a really strong stomach.If "The Handmaid's Tale" and James Ellroy had a baby, it would probably be a lot like this book. Fanaticism, theocracy, police corruption, violent extermination of heathens, (lack of) freedom of religion... The story takes place in New Bethlehem, which was part of the United States at some point. Before the Purge. That was when Church and State were merged and the New Republican Testament was written and imposed as law on this new city-state's citizens. Now the ultimate authority is the Prophet... Murtag is an Acolyte: that means he's part of a special police force, who's role is to find and eradicate heretics. That includes people who do not live by the True Faith, as well as homosexuals and Darwinists; you know, people who could potentially make you doubt your beliefs, or simply don't live by this revised and improved version of the Bible everyone is now reading.Jonah Murtag is a rather typical noir novel police officer: sullen, jaded, depressed. Not alcoholic, but only because the city-state has outlawed booze. He is stuck between highly forbidden feelings for his partner Angela Doe (of course, sexuality is also highly regulated, and copulation outside the bonds of matrimony is enough to get you ritually mutilated or worse) and the massive disillusionment that comes with working behind the wizard's curtain. There's something about knowing how the sausage gets made that takes away your taste for hot-dogs, and being the muscle of a religious dictatorship is no different. So when he gets caught up in an investigation on a string of bombings, originally attributed to fanatics of other faiths, his shaky faith and ability to deal with the system he is a part of starts unraveling fast. Because evidence begins to indicate a different kind of perpetrator, more dangerous than your run-of-the-mill jihadist. And extreme circumstances call for extreme measures: Heaven's very own creepy "enforcers"...Religious fanatics scare me, for many reasons. The idea of born-again Christians with guns is enough to make me lose sleep, so this book was basically tailor-made to traumatize me. It's a hard-boiled detective story, a scathing commentary on extremism and a horribly realistic speculation on what happens when critical thinking and objective reality are thrown out the window in favor of bigotry and violence. The world-building is succinct, but spooky and believable. I suppose all dictatorships headed by megalomaniacs are the same on the surface, but Cutter really nails what it would be like if all the Bible-Belt Jesus nuts were armed, organized and decided to take over. And holy cow is it ever disturbing and gory! Add to that the old-fashioned noir atmosphere that permeates the book: everything is dark, dirty... and the things that are clean are wrong somehow. This is my first Nick Cutter book, and I’ll definitely check out his other novels because I found his writing beautiful and reverting, in the most fucked-up way imaginable. His twisted choice of subject matter resulted in a unique and terrifying dystopian tale.The author’s acknowledgements at the end is very interesting: if you read the book and wondered “what kind of sicko writes stuff like this?”, Cutter gives a very interesting insight as to WHY he wrote it. Highly, highly recommended!

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    2019-06-12 03:30

    As an Acolyte, Jonah Murray's job is to eradicate all heretical religious faiths,etc... and while he's troubled in all aspects of his life, the biggest worry is that he no longer believes in the Prophet. As someone who is not religious, I'm always fascinated by reads regarding religious fanaticism and blind faith. It can seem extremely cult like with people using these beliefs and twisting them to suit their own selfish wants. I couldn't even imagine living in a world where everything looks like one big cult.If you've read Nick Cutter before, then you are already familiar with the way he is beautifully disgusting in his detail of the macabre. He's especially talented in doing this with animals and children. There's one scene in the first 100 pages regarding animals that made me cringe... and then smile. 😈 His ability to throw you right into the pages with these details is one of my favorite things about his writing. There were even a couple of scenes that put me into an Enter the Void kind of mind... and if you've ever seen that movie, I think you'll know what I mean.This book probably won't be for everyone, but I absolutely loved it. The only reason I don't have this as 5 star review is that I wasn't as engaged with this one as I was with his other work. Now that I've read everything under this pen name, I should probably now add his other work under his real name, Craig Davidson.

  • Marc-Antoine
    2019-05-31 03:14

    Wow! Nick Cutter has written quite a scary world. A dystopian crime noir novel that doesn't let up for a second, a literal page turner. Ultra violent, and raises a lot of questions on organized religion, therefore probably not for everyone.

  • AH
    2019-06-02 00:18

    The Troop, The Deep...and now The Acolyte -- Can't wait!OK, I tried this and either I was not in the mood or this book was not for me. It happens sometimes. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

  • SUSAN *Nevertheless,she persisted*
    2019-05-29 03:27

    If you threw "1984","American Horror Story","Revival" in a blender and added a pinch of "Brave New World"……This book is not what I expected,it was better.It was simply a good read, well written,creepy,fresh.

  • José
    2019-06-23 06:11

    Reseña en español en el blog: Click Aquí3.75 (?) stars actually: The Troop and The Deep were some of the most disturbing books I've read lately, so I was really looking forward to read Nick Cutter's next book. This is not a horror novel, even though it has several gory and sick moments, it felt more like a crime or thriller.The story takes place in a future society governed by catholic fanatics: everyone who commits a crime against religion is hunted down, several books are banned (and most has been burned), the practice of science is forbidden and people from other religions are forced to live in ghettos.The protagonist of this book is Jonah Murtagh. He work as an Acolyte, some sort of elite police force that chase down "heathens" and investigate others crimes against religion; the story begins when Murtagh start investigating a series of suicide bombings across the city of New Bethlehem.This was a very entertaining book and an extremely fast read, the kindle edition has only 250 or so pages and the chapters are very short so I kept reading like a madman wanting to know what was going to happen next.The setting was another strong point. Cutter describes a very dark and sinister society governed by a mad religious zealot called The Prophet and we really don't know how the church took over since every source of information must be approved by the government, we can only guess what happened: some of the characters remember how life was before the Republic, this gives us the hint that the new society is still in development and the church doesn't have absolute control. I found this uncertainty very interesting because it reflects the ignorance and confusion that our main character suffers.So why didn't I rate this book higher? because it was predictable, some of the plot twist didn't surprise me and Murtagh wasn't an appealing character. The short chapters make this a fast read but it also made the story sort of messed and disconnected, the way how Murtagh meets some of the other characters wasn't convincing and felt rushed.All in all, I think it was an entertaining story and this society created by Cutter was great. I congratulate him for trying to write something different from horror (even though I enjoyed The troop and The Deep more), this book is disturbing in a different way: it shows a society where all hope is lost and the only true word comes from The Prophet, it's a good critic about how many people uses religion for their own benefit.Also I warn that this is not a book for everyone. Even though it's a crime or thriller novel, it has a lot (and I insist A LOT) of gore, disturbing scenes and profanity, so don't read it if you're easily impressed by violence."The question becomes: how to make an entire species self-destruct? What is the most effective system of annihilation? Religion. It's a tool, and any tool has right and wrong use (...) Fear, obedience, sacrifice, fanatic loyalty: these are fruits religion cultivates in a nurturing hand. And the greatest part is that the nurturer doesn't need to promise anything tangible: the reward is only delivered in death. It all rest in the bones of belief. And those bones are unbreakable."

  • A.R.
    2019-06-18 05:29

    The third book by this master of horror creates a world where religious fanatics rule by law--a real-life nightmare, hell-on-earth. As a Christian, I've dealt with hypocrites like that, who pretend to be nice, try to control people, then hurt them in perverse and/or violent ways. This created world chills the blood and captivates from first page to last, with a staggering plot twist at the end.

  • Marjolein
    2019-06-11 02:32

    3.5 stars Read all my reviews on I've been planning to read The Troop for some time but when I got my hands on an ARC for The Acolyte, I thought I might as well start with that one instead. And if I could only say one thing about it, it would be that it's certainly not something you read everyday. Jonah is an Acolyte, member of a special religion police force that puts the Dystopian into this Dystopian society. As he fails to protect a very important person at a bombing Muslim terrorists are the first suspects. But the evidence might point in a completely different way, and besides Jonah has bigger problems. He's lost his faith. One thing that's certainly creepy about this kind of dystopian stories is that it doesn't feel like something that could never really happen in one way or another. (As opposed to let's say a zombie apocalypse). The Acolyte started really good and I thought it was going to be a very good read, perhaps even more than 4 stars, but the second half was very weird. Don't get me wrong, I like weird as much (perhaps a bit more) as the next person when it comes to books and movies but not everything made sense to me, even after I considered that there were religion fanatics and terrorists in play. I never understood exactly why the Quints needed to be added to the story. Near the end there's a gruesome scene that makes me conclude this review with a warning that it's not for people with a weak stomach. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  • Chinook
    2019-06-06 04:33

    Holy shit. That was not what I was expecting at all. As religious dystopias go, that one was brutal. Once I started reading I couldn't look away.

  • Tobin Elliott
    2019-05-29 04:16

    I swore I was done with Nick Cutter after The Deep, but a friend of mine kept going on and on about this book and how it wasn't like Cutter's first two books, and he described it as "dangerous" and "amazing". So, four days ago, I relented and bought it.I must admit, the opening was shocking, horrible, and every bit as dangerous as my friend had stated. Hmm, I thought, this really isn't like the other two books. Maybe I really will enjoy this one. So, I settled in for the long haul.There were things--as in all the Cutter books--that were brilliant. The set up and basic concept of this book are phenomenal. The same could be said for both The Troop and The Deep. Unfortunately, for me, there were things--as in all the Cutter books--that rang so totally false and against all the rules of logic that they kept yanking me out of the story. The same could be said for both The Troop and The Deep.For example, when the first bomb goes off, Murtag and a fellow Acolyte, Doe (who are the law in this scenario), having survived the devastating blast, and as officers of the law, decide the smartest thing to do But they don't run far. So, why? It really had no impact on the rest of the plot. They both came right back on the force and kept plodding. Hell, Murtag was almost immediately put into a position of dangerous authority when he helped carry out a covert mission shortly afterward (a mission, I might add, where others were shot to avoid the information leaking).Cutter also goes to great lengths to point out that in this new world, science is essentially shunned. There are no modern forensic crime solving techniques anymore, nor life-saving drugs. Yet, there are computers, cell phones and video games. That makes no sense. And my final concern with the novel is that the protagonist, through probably 80-90% of the novel, really doesn't do anything. Things all happen around him and he's pulled from situation to situation, with no control or fight in him. And, though he should die at least a couple of times, he's always, inexplicably, let go. His only real decisions in the novel (aside from the end) are to stupidly run from a bomb blast crime scene, and to take in some birds and animals and a homeless girl--all for no apparent reason and again, with no impact to the plot.I felt like much of this novel was written on the fly, with no real planning.The author states that the novel came from a dark place, and I do believe that. He touches on themes that are insanely relevant right now. Blind faith in religion. Bias against religions other than your own. Outright hate of that which you don't understand. Church corruption. As usual, I believe Cutter had the opportunity to create something great, a classic of the genre and a novel that speaks intelligently of our times. But instead, it's basically Logan's Run with a religious slant.Once again. A novel I desperately wanted to love. But didn't. I will say, however, it's likely the best book of Cutter's I've read.

  • Jonny Magnum
    2019-06-15 06:36

    Fahrenheit 451 meets Nineteen Eighty-Four in Nick Cutter’s latest novel, with a hint of current events.Nick Cutter is a pseudonym of Craig Davidson, created so he could write horror under a crisp, punchy name the genre deserves. His first two additions to the horror genre, The Troop and The Deep have been praised by many, including Stephen King himself, who described The Troop as “old-school horror” and claimed it “scared the hell out of me.” Hot on the heels of the January release of The Deep comes his latest horror novel, The Acolyte, though, trying to sum up this novel as just horror would be injustice to its complexity. It’s equal parts noir thriller, horror, and black comedy. Readers will find themselves cringing at Cutter’s ability to describe horrific events while laughing at the ridiculousness of the world he’s created. Unfortunately, this world isn’t far from fiction for some.Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte, or a religious police officer, set to eradicate all religious practices and materials that aren’t Christian. Yet, he’s come to realize that the ways of this religion are not some that he can believe or back up anymore. After a wave of bombings start to shake the system, he has to fight to uncover the truth.Understandably, The Acolyte is not a easy novel to stomach as even Cutter himself admitted that it was not easy to write. He’s sure to have ruffled a lot of feathers with some terminology (like segregated town names such as Kiketown) yet somehow made the setting ridiculous enough to laugh at. The streets are adorned with neon lighted crucifixes and every product is marketed to aid in the religious agenda of its rulers. For instance, one billboard advertised a shampoo with the hilarious slogan “Lather, rinse, repent.” But after chuckling at some of the details of New Bethlehem, there are some pages that are just difficult to read. Suicide bombing is not an easy subject, given the current events of the last decade. And that’s what makes The Acolyte so scary. It isn’t exactly far from the truth. Just like Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and Nineteen Eighty-Four are being read by high-school students as a dystopian cautionary tale, it's not hard to see The Acolyte there some day.Comparing The Acolyte to his previous two novels is hard considering it’s a different type of horror, but Nick Cutter has written himself another great piece of prose that’s sure to keep his name on the radar. It had some pacing issues, especially the last third feeling a bit too rushed, yet it still completed its mission of instilling fear and posing huge questions about religion and its place in government.I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Tracy
    2019-06-22 02:26

    **I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**"1984" meets "Fahrenheit 451", meets the Spanish Inquisition and crime noir.Brilliant, brutal, mildly horrifying; at times savagely funny…I think I have another favourite author in Nick Cutter.In a country ruled by fundamentalist Christians, Jonah Murtagh is an Acolyte, an officer of the Faith Crimes Unit in the City of New Bethlehem - a unit which enforces religious conformance and operates outside the law. Jonah’s involvement in an investigation into a series of terrorist bombings, expose him to the machinations of the extremist theocracy.I could not put this book down. At times I was horrified and at others I laughed out loud at the biting satire of Cutter’s writing. The scariest thing is that I can see how you could extrapolate our current world into this dystopian vision. The characterisations are wonderful and the story is fast paced. Cutter’s writing and use of imagery immerses you in this harsh world and two of the scenes made me grimace in their savagery; it takes a lot to make me do that. I loved every minute of it. This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. Five out Five Stars. Brutally Awesome.Release Date: May 5th, 2015

  • Anne Monteith
    2019-06-22 01:31

    There were parts of this book that read like one of my worst nightmares and I wondered if that author and I had some of the same fears for the future. With religious intolerance in some countries, the idea of there being some type of fundamentalist that control an area in the something that I worry about occurring; seems the author might have some concerns as well.I found the characters to be well-developed and despite having to put the book down at times because the scenes were so chilling that I needed a break, I found myself caring about some of them. In caring, I was concerned about what could happen to them in this type of society. I am not going to give any spoilers, pick up this book and read it but be warned this is not a lite beach read.4.5/5 **Receiving a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley did not influence my rating or review of this book; all opinions are my own.**

  • Eddie
    2019-06-19 23:16

    I rather did enjoy the religious dystopia aspect of this story... and to my fellow Goodreads friends who liked this book, I am sorry... but for me..It failedIt looked good at first... a hybrid of horror, dystopia, and mystery..It failed miserably on two accounts and partially on the other It just didnt go anywhere... lacked depth.. was overly confusing and the story needed more plot, more story,... and less actionI will give second thought to anything with the 'horror' genre attached to it, no matter how good it may sound as a dystopia or mystery..

  • Jolinda Van
    2019-06-13 02:13

    This is my favorite book by this author so far. It's set in a dystopian future where religion has taken over State. Jonah Murtag is an acolyte with the New Bethlehem Police Dept. who has the misfortune to be on an important assignment when unknown group of terrorist set off a bomb killing a prestige charge in his care. These bombings continue throughout the city. The book book is a great commentary on intolerance, the danger of combining church and State, and man's inhumanity to man in the name of religion.

  • Colum Mcknight
    2019-06-14 04:07

    One of the most blasphemous and potentially offensive books I've ever read. This one is dangerous in the hands of those without any sense of humour or without any idea what social commentary looks like. Cutter is definitely on the cutting edge of Canadian horror (no pun intended), and will be hard to beat.

  • Tiara
    2019-06-20 01:16

    3.5 stars. I love books like this that find ways to blend dystopian elements with religious themes. Cutter has created this book that seems one part nightmare and one part brilliance. Very engaging, but definitely very gory. This is something I'd have to be particular about who I recommend it to.

  • Daryl
    2019-06-05 23:08

    Cutter does it again--another disturbing and engrossing novel with an innovative plot line and great characters. Murtag is a fascinating anti-hero, and the religious post apocalyptic world in this novel is all too real.

  • Aine
    2019-06-03 23:09

    There's just nothing much here. Yes, I get it, religion ruling everyone is bad, I agree, but this was not really fleshed out, the narrator (1st person no less) had zero personality. Many things would have struck me as gross or offensive if I had been even remotely able to connect with anyone or their motivations in this, but I was not. It feels much more like a rushed first draft than a complete story. I did the Audible audio book and I also absolutely hated the narrator. This bums me out, premise-wise, this book sounded very culturally and politically relevant and I like the author so was looking forward to reading it. Oh well, on to the next.