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The Acolyte

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,098 ratings  ·  176 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by ChiZine Publications (first published April 21st 2015)
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May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:


Dear tiny 8 pound 6 ounce Baby Jesus (don’t even know a word), WTF did I just read?

Houston commercial photography

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 ra
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 gra
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Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia

This 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
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 Unite
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 fa ...more
Sadie Hartmann
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 hatr
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
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
11811 (Eleven)
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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 bette
Michael Hicks
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 ch
Alissa Patrick
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
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 ...more
Maxine Marsh

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. Wheth
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signed-by-author
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. ...more
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
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.
Jan 14, 2015 marked it as on-hold
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.
Jun 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
This is my third book by Cutter and I am a little mixed on this one. Cutter takes us to a not so distant future in North America (I assume) where a strict religious order now rules. Our main lead, Jonah, is an Acolyte-- a special part of the police force, basically the faith crimes unit that is tasked maintaining 'moral law' and "searching out and eradicating all non-conforming faiths, their artifacts, sites of worship, and practitioners." The theocracy is loosely based on a conservative (e.g, r ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reseña en español en el blog: Click Aquí

3.75 (?) 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
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopian
**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’
Anne Monteith
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 future.
is 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 chi
Jolinda Van
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 failed

It 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 action

I will give second thought to anything with the 'horror' genre attached to it, no m
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nick Cutter, there's always a moment when reading him that I have to sit back and wonder. What the hell am I reading? The Acolyte was truly no different. Is it good? Is it bad? It's Nick Cutter. It's... its own strange, engaging thing that really defies explanation. It's for this, and the inevitable scene that is so utterly disgusting and repulsive that I'm left shuddering and wondering why I put myself through this. All of his books tend to have one of those. This one was even worse than Th ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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, premi
May 04, 2015 rated it liked it
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 Th
Paperback Horror
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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Horror Aficionados : The Acolyte - Buddy Read - July 2015 16 36 Jul 14, 2015 05:33AM  

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Hello Everybody!

I've been asked to set this up by The Powers That Be, and I'm more than happy to, although I can't really say much about myself seeing as Nick Cutter doesn't exactly exist—he's a pen name. A cool, tough pen name! Your mileage will vary on whether you agree, but that was the thinking. Horror writers should have crisp, punchy names. Stephen King. Clive Barker. Nick Cutter. Not that I

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