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Terribly Serious Darkness #1

Peril in the Old Country

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What terror lurks in the shadows of the Old Country?

Well, there are the goblins, of course. Then there are the bloodthirsty cannibals from nearby Carpathia, secret societies plotting in whispers, and murder victims found drained of their blood, to name a few. That's to say nothing of the multitude of government ministries, any one of which might haul one off for "questioning" in the middle of the night.

The Old Country is saturated with doom, and Sloot is scarcely able to keep from drowning in it. Each passing moment is certain to be his last, though never did fate seem so grim as the day he was asked to correct the worst report ever written.

Will the events put in motion by this ghastly financial statement end in Sloot's grisly death? Almost definitely. Is that the worst thing that could happen? Almost definitely not.

312 pages, ebook

First published June 5, 2018

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About the author

Sam Hooker

8 books50 followers

Sam writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words, though he refuses to repeat them because he doesn't want to attract goblins. He lives in California with his wife and son, who renew their tolerance for his absurdity on a per-novel basis.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,563 reviews2,312 followers
March 30, 2018
Peril in the Old Country (Terribly Serious Darkness, #1) by Sam Hooker is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. The first few pages were difficult to get into but once I got going I enjoyed the clever and witty story up until about half way through. There things got complicated. (At least for me) I never could pick up the same rhythm I had with the book like I had in the first half. I did enjoy the book.
Profile Image for Melindam.
633 reviews275 followers
June 15, 2018
ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

3,5 slow-burning, but ultimately funny and promising stars

When I say slow-burning, I mean slow-burning, but that's what you get when you Main Character is an accountant. :)

More detailed review to come.

Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
398 reviews363 followers
June 4, 2018
I received this eARC from Black Spot Books on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

"You may be a mild-mannered bundle of nerves, Peril, but you're the most earnest and loyal bundle of nerves I've ever met."

The Writing and Worldbuilding

I found this book to be a riot, and I was giggling and laughing basically the entire time. Sam Hooker really got that strange niche of humor I reside in, and I was really happy with the world and most of the characters.

The concept of the goblins was honestly the best running joke I've ever heard of and I seriously loved it so much. Seriously, if you want a good laugh, this is the book for you. It feels like you got a bunch of Russian people drunk and had them very inaccurately reenact 1984 by George Orwell.

Unfortunately, once the main cast actually got to Carpathia, I found the humor slipped from the absurd to the annoying and irritating, and I really didn't like that part of the book. Most of that was the characters introduced in that section of the book, and the rest was Sloot's arc (which kind of paused, reverted, and then got back on track basically as soon as he left), and also, not much really happened in Carpathia, and what did happen wasn't as funny or interesting.

The Characters

Sloot Peril: This guy is literally my worrier-spirit animal (and I mean worrier, not warrior). He was so funny and awkward. but his arc of coming into his own and gaining some degree of self-confidence was really awesome.

Roman: I really liked Roman. He was pretty straight-faced and also absurd, which is a difficult combination to do well, but Hooker did just that.

Myrtle (and Arthur): I liked her enough, but found her fairly annoying during the Carpathia parts. Arthur was pretty consistent but if he hadn't been there, I probably wouldn't have missed his presence. It was fairly unnecessary to the story.

Greta and Vlad: I liked Greta when she was introduced, but once she got into Carpathia, she became really annoying and I really didn't like her. Vlad's introduction was promising, but she quickly became a more annoying version of Willie without his stupidly endearing qualities. They were more plot devices than anything.

Willie: I really loved Willie's complete idiocy. He was so silly and consistent.

Mrs. Knife: lol this lady was a classic bad guy. I really liked her.


This was a very enjoyable book. I really liked it and I'm so glad I read it.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,570 reviews259 followers
May 21, 2018
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Terrors lurk in the Old Country from goblins, bloodthirsty cannibals from nearby Carpathia, nefarious secret societies, to bloodless murder victims. Then there are the government agencies that might take you in for "questioning" in the middle of the night. Sloot can barely keep himself from drowning in the sense of doom that saturates the Old Country. Any minute could be his last, but now things are looking worse than ever as he's been ordered to correct a ghastly financial statement. It's almost certain that this will lead to Sloot's grisly death, but that probably isn't the worst thing that could happen.

I have a feeling that if you like Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, you'll also like the tone and style of Peril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker. I loved the dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Sloot is something like a mild mannered Arthur Dent sort of character who gets thrown into a whole new world that is nothing like what he's used to. He gets thrown into more and more ridiculous and terrible events and he has to deal with all of these changes to his life now. Unfortunately, the humor doesn't always quite work or flow as well as I would like it to, but the absurdly dark sense of humor is one of my favorite aspects. I also loved some of the ridiculous (in a good way) details that go into the story. I know that this style won't be for everyone, but it's still quite a bit of fun in my opinion. I will definitely want to try the future installments of the Terribly Serious Darkness series.

Thanks again, NetGalley!
Profile Image for Wol.
113 reviews42 followers
May 21, 2018
Sloot Peril is my favorite sort of protagonist – the kind who comes from a place of honesty. In much the same way that most of us would find ourselves sorted into Hufflepuff if we were totally honest with ourselves, the majority of us have more in common with Sloot than we do the real heroic heroes of fantasy, like Aragorn or Conan. Sloot is a tightly wound accountant with a strong survival instinct and a deep love of bureaucracy and routine. He’s anxious, cowardly and somewhat haughty – sort of an interesting mix of all the negative qualities of a pre-tower Thomas Senlin, Bilbo Baggins and Rincewind.

In this dark comedic fantasy there are echoes of a great many influences, a little of everything from Edward Gorey to George Orwell. This is a dystopian tale that covers a number of fairly heavy subjects in a light and satirical fashion. While there is definitely a hint of the Discworld in its tone, Pratchett’s rage against injustice was never far from the surface. Hooker opts for a more darkly amused, fatalistic approach. It’s gallows humor done very well indeed, and while for me there weren’t always big laughs, it was consistently amusing and I chuckled a lot. The plot at its most basic is a standard reluctant-hero-thrown-into-an-adventure story, but there are none more reluctant than Sloot Peril, and therein lies the comedy.

The pacing of the story is a little inconsistent, but the author’s voice is strong enough to carry it through the lulls, and the characters are great fun. The secondary characters are pretty well developed for the most part and they are each given the opportunity to shine through the excellent dialogue. Lord Wilhelm and Nan in particular are absolutely hilarious – Willie’s naive ignorance and lack of self awareness was the highlight of the novel for me, and Hooker’s deft commentary on people who have more money than sense was hugely enjoyable. It reminded me quite strongly of Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of Prince George in Blackadder, just the right blend of well-meaning and dimwitted that comes with having been born too rich to really need to learn anything. I also found that despite some obvious foreshadowing, I genuinely believed the narrative was heading in a certain direction, and then, it… didn’t. It did exactly the opposite of what I expected, and I was absolutely delighted. I don’t want to go into detail because it would ruin one of the fun surprises of the book, but Hooker did a great job of turning my expectations on their head despite having signalled well in advance that he was going to do so.

However, sometimes there has to be a bit of bad with the good. While the prose, setting, dialogue and character development were all very strong, there was a failing that unfortunately means I have to dock it a star, and I’m truly sorry to do so because it was otherwise excellent. The ending that was not an ending. Perhaps it was a deliberate choice, but from my point of view it felt like the author didn’t know how to end the novel and so chose a cliffhanger in order to give himself some breathing room to sort the mess out later. Rushed, abrupt and unsatisfying. There was no resolution of any kind to be had – and while I am dying to know what happens next, I feel this could have been handled better. However, the good most definitely outweighs the bad. I know I’ll still recommend this to several people I know, but I’ll have to give them a heads-up about the ending and I do hope that this won’t be a hallmark of the series. Outside of this flaw, it’s genuinely wonderful and I look forward to book 2.

Score: 7.7/10 (4 Stars)
Profile Image for Valentina.
Author 35 books177 followers
February 3, 2018
The author’s voice is what drew me in from the first page. First paragraph, really. With its tongue–firmly-in-cheek prose, the story kept me turning the virtual pages.

Sloot Peril is a great hero because although he is a walking neurosis, he feels real. Most readers probably know someone just like him. His progression throughout the story is cleverly done, so that we see him slowly changing, managing to do some things that he wouldn’t even have considered at the start of the novel. This growth on his part is one of the things that make him such a believable character, even in such a series of wacky plots. Roman was another favorite of mine because he is both so bad and so good at the spy business that you never know if his plans will actually work or not.

There are some real laugh-out-loud moments, making this definitely a story I would recommend for people who want something lighter. I especially enjoyed the queuing scenes because they show an exaggerated version of the bureaucratic nonsense we have all put up with. Oh, and the black market. Which is actually a black market, underground and super secret. All of those details add flavor to an already fun read.

If you enjoy witty narratives that have plenty of comedic moments, then I highly recommend this one.
Profile Image for  Linda (Miss Greedybooks).
348 reviews105 followers
December 24, 2020
I thought this looked interesting. I kept with it, I rarely DNF. First impression was he was trying too hard to write like Douglas Adams, and not successfully. I guess that's the absurdist part? I continued, feeling meh. 3 stars is generous in my opinion. I thought if it doesn't get better, I will not get book 2... The final sentence was the total deciding factor, absolutely positively, no, just no.
Profile Image for Diane Hernandez.
2,174 reviews32 followers
June 4, 2018
Peril in the Old Country is a hilarious quest fantasy!Sloot Peril is an accountant who has a nervous condition. He lives in the Old Country where swearing causes goblins to physically appear. There is so much bureaucracy that a union provides professional line waiters. Sloot is a patriot who despises the country just past the Old Country’s giant wall, Carpathia. What happens when he:
Is recruited to be the financial manager of his mega-rich boss’ son
Finds out a shocking truth about himself
Is recruited to be a Carpathian spy
Does the one thing his boss told him not to do—on his first day

The puns come fast and furious in Peril in the Old Country. There are running gags about swear words and shoes throughout. It is a zany ride. The world building is terrific and hilarious. Is it fantasy? Is it horror? I don’t know but it is highly recommended for readers looking for something different. This book is perfect for fans of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s style of humor. 42 stars! [sorry, wrong book] 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Black Spot Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Profile Image for Helen Whistberry.
Author 24 books57 followers
July 6, 2020
Another one of those books that won't be for every reader but I enjoyed it. I have a love of absurdist satire and rather hapless heroes and we get both here in abundance. Sloot Peril (his name itself gives you an idea of what you're in for) is the original mild-mannered accountant addicted to his routines and quiet mundanity who is precipitously plunged into the life of a spy and adventurer very much against his wishes. There follows a cascading series of ridiculous yet dangerous events which threaten to push the anxious Sloot over the edge into a final nervous breakdown. The actual details of the central conspiracy and overall plot are almost beside the point here. The real fun is the word play and the increasingly bizarre happenings. There is some pertinent political commentary about authoritarian rule and the dangers of blind obedience to any government or cause, but mostly it is just a hoot. I must note that the ending feels rather abrupt and unsatisfying as though the author suddenly just said, oh, time to jump to the second book now, but I think that can be forgiven in a series that prides itself on being iconoclastic. Fans of farce and smart nonsense with a meekly relatable hero may want to check this out.
Profile Image for Nia Ireland.
405 reviews1 follower
April 13, 2018
This book is very reminiscent of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld in terms of world-building and characterisation.

Hapless characters go around haplessly happlessing from one kingdom to the next, with none quite so hapless as Sloot Peril, mild-mannered and rule-abiding financier of the Domnitor. An accountant is the perfect character to tell this story.

He’s singularly unqualified to be going on adventures and uncovering mysteries, but that’s the situation he’s thrown into. He’s incredibly neurotic and dry in his humour, which is what makes him a very easy character to empathise with and enjoy reading.

However, it was the pacing and structure of this book that threw me a bit – the dry humour and absurd situations were great fun, but it was very drawn out and somewhere near the middle of the book I started to forget what was even going on.

The book does cover some excellent points in a wonderful wry fashion - propaganda, social class and how independent thought should really be discouraged in a population if you want to run it without argument.

The author’s humour is the guiding force of this book, if you like your funny dry and dark, this is the perfect book for you.

*Thank you NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*
Profile Image for Sibil.
1,302 reviews62 followers
March 14, 2020
Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
3.5 stars

I think that with this book my main problem was my expectations because they were just too high. The book is fun, enjoyable and, in some part, even brilliant but... yeah, I was expecting something more. Or something a tad more bright. I have this problem quite enough with comic fantasy to understand that, basically, the problem is mine and not of the book. This much is clear to me, but I kept hoping to find something out there that could really satisfy me. Anyway, back to the book on end.
I had some problems getting into it. I wasn't so captured by it, but the author is quite brilliant and the reading is fun, once I got over my too high expectations, and I smiled a lot.
The book is quite slow but hey! Our dear MC is an accountant (yes, you read it right!) so what would you expect? And we get our fair share of ridiculous and some satire too, so I think that once you can connect with the narration and let you be taken by the events, you would find yourself in for some fun!
Profile Image for Danielle.
153 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2018
This book is so fun! plenty of mystery and adventure, plus it was really funny! very enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Tim Slee.
Author 8 books94 followers
July 4, 2018
When Terry Pratchett died we didn't just lose an author, we lost the entire Discworld universe. It was a fantastically humorous universe peopled with warty witches, goblins, færies, evil despots and hapless heroes.

But rejoice! For Peril in the Old Country is a rollicking story peopled with warty witches, goblins, færies, evil despots and hapless heroes!

There is more than a little Pratchettiness about the prose, but more in the way of an homage than straight fan fiction and it's a very easy and entertaining read. I read it during and in between international flights and it's the sort of book that bears multiple interruptions (boarding, meal service, movies, deplaning, straining to hear announcements) because the plot moves forward nicely in small bite-sized pieces and isn't so tricksy that you need to go back and re-read to remember what had happened the last time you picked it up.

Check my highlights for examples of the prose, but there are many chuckle-worthy gems:

"Grans of the Old Country seemed certain that young people were in constant danger of freezing to death, and took up knitting so they could stare death in the face and say, “Not today. Not on my watch.”


"Sladia continued talking, but Sloot could hear nothing but a high-pitched whine. He’d expected the sound of his life as he knew it bursting into flames to be more dramatic, yet there it was. A sort of highly efficient eternity passed, during which he managed to have a mental break, lose the power of speech, and rehabilitate himself before Sladia finished speaking."

It can be a little chaotic at times (I never really did work out what the spy called Roman's 'grand plan' really was ... but maybe that was the point?) but a bit like a ride at a fairground, the fun is in being flung around and turned upside down, not in the destination itself!

The main protagonist 'Sloot' is very reminiscent of Rincewind from Discworld and I would definitely recommend this one to Pratchett fans who miss Sam Vimes, Lord Vetinari and Nanny Ogg!
933 reviews17 followers
February 27, 2018
If you love the humor of Terry Pratchett, you absolutely must pick up a copy of Peril in the Old
Country.  It is a delightfully absurd novel with elements of the movie Brazil. Witty, astute observations on the nature of man and the reality he creates are paired with strange situations that become more and more convoluted as Sloot Peril endeavors to do the right thing and keep his head attached to his shoulders.

All Sloot did was correct a memo. Now he is the financier of an idiot nobleman, a spy, and possibly falling in love for the first time in his life.  He is way outside his comfort zone and the situation is becoming more ridiculous and more complex as it progresses.  Peril in the Old Country is an absolutely wonderful novel.  Not only was it extremely funny, it also had just the right way of pointing out truths that left the reader groaning and or rolling in laughter.  My only quibble is the abrupt ending.

5 /  5

I received a copy of Peril in the Old Country from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

— Crittermom
Profile Image for Addison.
38 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2019
The highlighted passages spoke to me more than any piece of literature in the history of the English language.
Profile Image for Euni.
94 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2018
I was provided this book by Black Spot Books in an exchange for an honest review. The book will be released June 5 2018. With that said I unfortunately cannot give this book 5 stars. I did enjoy the book but I feel like the ending needed to be a little more fulfilling for me, then again this is just the first book of the series....but anyway let me get into the review.

Star rating: 3.5 out of 5

Spoilers ahead!

The main reason why this book got as high of a rating as it did was because the author did an amazing job of creating this world. In the book the characters live in a country where the government is the absolute power and all citizens had to be 100% loyal or else "Uncle" would be after them. In this world there is the Ministry of Conversation AKA the place where they take citizens and do whatever is needed in order to get information out of people. There is also the Ministry of Propaganda whose main job is to make everything sound much better than it is. I mean their citizens are "free" so why would anyone say otherwise?....Maybe because they really aren't free, they are just programmed to believe so. And that is the world that our main character lives in.

I was immediately pulled in by Sloot and his strange personality. In the beginning of the story you are introduced to his quirkiness when he realizes that he forgot his watch at home and it is going to need winding. That in itself is not really odd, but the fact that his mother gave it to him and he associated the clocks movements with her heart beat was interesting. He was so concerned about the watch not being wound that he rushed home so that he could wind it and in turn guarantee that his mother would not die.

Then later on he finds out that he is getting a promotion and of course this is not a moment to celebrate for him...in fact he dreads this promotion. Then to make matters worse him mother finally tells him that she is retiring (from what he was not sure) and that now he had to take her position as a spy for the Carpathians. Who are they you ask? The crazy violent cannibals that live outside of Salzstadt! This obviously puts Sloot into a very intense situation...and that is where his adventure begins.

I do not want to give away too much of the story but Sloot's entire world is turned upside down.

•The world in this book and how it runs is fantastic. There were many things about it that made me laugh.
•I love Sloot. He was just so awkward and sweet. He will really draw you in.
•The book has a dark humor to it and I really enjoyed that.

•The plot was slow moving at times. I know that the author was building this world, but it seemed that some parts were dragged out more than they needed to be.
•The ending was a cliff hanger. There is no real resolution and you have to wait until the next book to find out what happens.....yes I will be getting the next book whenever it comes out.


I did enjoy the book and all the ending was just frustrating for me. I mean this book isn't even out yet and I'm sitting here having to wait for the next book to come out whenever that is LOL. I do not mind books that are part of a series but I really prefer for at least 1 story line to tie itself up at the end of the book. I was left going "that's it! But what happened? What happens next". It's just a bunch of loose ends that I will have to wait to have tied up. Sigh. But if you are into books that are satirical, and have a darker mood, this is a great book for you!
Profile Image for Steve Thomas.
Author 16 books42 followers
May 27, 2018
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. "Panic in the Old Country" by Sam Hooker will be released on June 5, 2018.

I’ve read that a good way to set up a story is to establish what a character is good at and make him do something else. “Peril In the Old Country” by Sam Hooker uses that method with malicious glee. Sloot Peril’s chief skills are accounting and flying under the radar are of a capricious and murderous government ruled by the tyrannical Domnitor, long may he reign. Sloot is a nervous, cowardly man adept in navigating a Kafkaesque dystopia that reads like a combination of 1984, Papers Please, and Paranoia. He’s stricken by learned anxiety and alternates between resigned fatalism and undignified panic. The humor is almost entirely driven by Hooker’s knack for describing how impossibly bleak and abusive the setting is, along with Sloot’s complete inability to cope.

In the early chapters, Sloot recieves an unfortunate promotion that places him in a new job as the financier of Lord Wilhelm “Willie” Hapsgalt, a foppish man-child of a noble who has been six years old for the past 36 years (He has a birthday coming up. He’s going to turn six.). This sparks a long series of fresh tortures for Sloot, from having to stand up to his own employees to visiting the Old Country’s hated neighbor Carpathia, a land of astoundingly violent and dangerous savages (if you believe the Ministry of Propaganda, and it’s inadvisable not to). He doesn’t even allow himself the space to question the insanity and injustice of his world, and it’s strangely endearing to watch him struggle along in a world where even wearing the wrong shoes to stand in line can earn you a roughing up and swear words summon goblins.

It’s also a spy story. Early on, Sloot is recruited, much to his chagrin, by a spymaster named Roman and is caught in a criss-crossed web of conspiracies, which brings him no end of stress. This is comedic fantasy starring a craven protagonist, so the comparisons to Discworld’s Rincewind are inevitable, but I would argue that this book reads more like a parody of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice. Like Fitz, Sloot is just a man trying to get by in a crapsack world and find a little happiness while suffering through an endless parade of torment. Roman is a smarmier, more secretive Chade who delights in Sloot’s ignorance. Lord Wilhelm is as foppish and hedonistic Prince Regal, minus the villainy. There’s even a painfully awkward romance that Sloot can’t help but undermine with his cowardice and awkwardness. If you’re a fan of books that treat their protagonists like chew toys at a doggie daycare, “Panic in the Old Country” is the parody for you.

I had two major complaints about this book. First, Hooker describes a culture of kilt-wearing, red-bearded barbarians known for their love of **whiskey** (He spelled whisky with an [e]! Get him!). Second, I found the ending abrupt and unsatisfying. I don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Joel Mitchell.
702 reviews4 followers
August 17, 2021
Sloot Peril the accountant is a nervous/befuddled/pathetic character on the order of Arthur Dent or Rincewind the Wizard, and he lives in a world that sounds like 1984 as written by Terry Pratchett who has just read a bunch of dark fantasy (be careful which characters you get emotionally attached to). Poor Sloot, the most law-abiding of citizens, renders great service to an important man (correcting an accounting report that implied he wasn't so rich that he didn't have to count his money) and is plunged into a world of plots within plots.

The characters are ridiculous, the situations are absurd, and the narration is hilarious and snarky (beware if you are easily offended by something you value being satirized). This was on it's way to being a 4.5 to 5 star book, but the end really annoyed me. There are plot unveilings, deaths, swearing (e.g. "the one that rhymes with elbow" or "the one that starts with m and refers to the face you make right before sneezing"), true love...and then the book ends before we find out how the situation resolves...I hate that kind of cliffhanger ending. If you're a good author you don't need to string me along like that! You should be able to offer some resolution and still keep my interest. It annoyed me so much that I almost dropped this clear down to 3 stars, but I had too much fun overall to do that.
Profile Image for Tonya (Rustic Book Reviews).
368 reviews37 followers
February 15, 2018
I was given this book by Black Spot Books in exchange for an honest review.

I thought this was a such a cute book. I loved the book from the moment I picked it up. If you are looking for something that will make you make laugh and have some not so heavy moments, this book will be for you.

Sloot Peril has had his whole life planned and throughout the book, you watch as Sloot starts doing things completely out of his planned out life style. Then when he was asked to correct a financial report, things for Sloot start changing. He is now doing things he thought would never do.

Sloot had no idea was about to happen around him. Between all the undead and secret societies going on, he met the lovely Myrtle. She may have just put a smile on his face, but you will have to read the book for this story! NO SPOILERS.

The author did a great job describing the evolving of Sloot from the beginning to the end of this book.

Oh and lets not forget our spy, Roman. Loved Roman. He was one of my favorites in the story.

The question is does Mrs. Knife want Sloot dead?

I would highly suggest this book!
Profile Image for Little Ghost.
156 reviews42 followers
April 23, 2018
As a fan of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, I am always seeking out the next humour fantasy novels. While Hooker's tone resembles that of Pratchett and Adams, the novel does not really flow as naturally as I would have hoped. The humour stands out uncomfortably between bits of action and storyline. I think, perhaps, the shortcoming is in the overt humour. Adams and Pratchett were overtly silly at times; however, they often subtlely joked about the human condition in a way that connected with all walks of life. Peril in the Old Country lacks the finesse of true comedic writing. Rather, it reads like a joke book waiting for a drum roll and cymbal crash after every paragraph. Then again, humour is such a fickle beast. Another reader may find this book absolutely perfect. As for me, I felt as if I were watching the US version of The Office when I really wanted the UK version. It just didn't quite fit.

However, the first of Pratchett's Discworld novels suffered similar shortcomings, which makes me think Hooker may produce some really fun stories in the future.

Thank you to Sam Hooker, NetGalley, and Black Spot Books for the eARC in exchange for a fair review.
Profile Image for Cheryl Teo.
13 reviews
May 17, 2018
In a brilliant display of satirical wit and humor, Sam Hooker paints an engaging and imaginative tale of a fantastical world where our protagonist, who is plagued with anxiety disorder and OCD, is abruptly thrown into an epic adventure that wildly contrasts with the safe and mundane life he led previously as an underappreciated but extremely meticulous accountant.

Hooker's ADHD-ish writing is reminiscent of the legendary authors, Sir Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, both of whom have an endearing habit of delving into witty and astute observations of the world and going off the rails into a hilarious behemoth of irrelevance.

Hooker's sarcastic humor and his enviably sui generis takes on certain topics kept me lost in the world of the nervous, befuddled and cowardly Sloot Peril who progressively machos up as he is piled with hardship and absurd experiences. I was particularly enamored with a female warlord whose fighting prowess are paralleled to none, and deeply inspired by how the hardcore and merciless warlord is open to all kinds of love, and pursues it tirelessly.

I would have given this book 5 stars had it not been for the abrupt and baffling ending.
Profile Image for Yicheng Liu.
Author 1 book6 followers
May 21, 2018
-Netgalley Review-

The story is interesting, and the author's writing style is sharp, clear, and crisp. This drew me in from the first page onward as it captivated my attention and I relished my experience reading with satisfaction, like finishing off a particularly long, cold, and dreary day listening to old records on a xylophone whilst sipping hot chocolate.

Sloot Peril is a great hero because of his many flaws and somewhat odd nature. He feels real. This helps me empathise with him. His character arc developing throughout the story is done in a well-thought-out manner, We, as the readers, see him changing throughout the story in an organic way, managing to do things and making decisions that he wouldn't considered at the start. The crazy plot is something that can paint a smile on my face as well, and that helps, I suppose.

If you enjoy witty narratives that have plenty of comedic moments, then I would humbly recommend this story to you, this story reminds me of all the comedic stories that I have read in the past, like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, to a certain extent. A pleasant read.
Profile Image for Euni.
94 reviews1 follower
July 5, 2018
I did enjoy the book and all the ending was just frustrating for me. I mean this book isn’t even out yet and I’m sitting here having to wait for the next book to come out whenever that is LOL. I do not mind books that are part of a series but I really prefer for at least 1 story line to tie itself up at the end of the book. I was left going “that’s it! But what happened? What happens next”. It’s just a bunch of loose ends that I will have to wait to have tied up. Sigh. But if you are into books that are satirical, and have a darker mood, this is a great book for you!

•The world in this book and how it runs is fantastic. There were many things about it that made me laugh.
•I love Sloot. He was just so awkward and sweet. He will really draw you in.
•The book has a dark humor to it and I really enjoyed that.

•The plot was slow moving at times. I know that the author was building this world, but it seemed that some parts were dragged out more than they needed to be.
•The ending was a cliff hanger. There is no real resolution and you have to wait until the next book to find out what happens…..yes I will be getting the next book whenever it comes out.

Profile Image for Rick Danforth.
Author 9 books5 followers
March 29, 2021
I was introduced to this writer after he did an entertaining AMA on Reddit, and I am very happy i saw it!

There was a little bit of a slow start that gave me pause for thought, but then before I knew it I had read half the book in one sitting and wondered where the day had gone.

There was hilarity on every page, a twisting and entertaining plot, a well planned world and a character that was engaging and I think most people could definitely get behind. Personally I was a bit indifferent to the ending, but I think that is more about my own tastes than anything else.

As an aspiring author in the same genre, comic fantasy, all I can say is I am downright jealous of this novel! It is exactly what I would have wanted to write. Albeit maybe with a few more goblin induced swear words.

I have already purchased the second novel, and will be reading that very shortly! I hope the author continues to write these in the same quality.
54 reviews
November 29, 2018
~~ An ARC copy was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion ~~

The topic of this book intrigued me. I loved the wit and sarcasm of its characters, and the world-building enticed me. Sloot Peril is hardly the hero we expect of a fantasy novel, and that definitely gave me buy-in for the novel. Unfortunately (at least for me), I got lost somewhere in the middle. I don't know if I wasn't following the narrative correctly, or didn't get where the writer was going, but things didn't make sense to me. The ending seemed rushed and left me puzzled (but not curious to see what would be next). It could be that I didn't fully understand Mr. Hooker's humor and wit. Or that I'm new to the adult fantasy genre. But Peril in the Old Country is a pretty good book - it simply wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Annie.
2,058 reviews99 followers
May 3, 2018
Sam Hooker’s Peril in the Old Country, the first novel in a trilogy, is a new entry on the very short list of books that feel like they were written to spec for me. It has a shy, sheltered character who finds themselves suddenly way over their head in conspiracy and derring-do. The world is full of goofy details (goblins the appear when people swear, for example), with satirical subtext. It’s written with an old-fashioned loopiness with paragraphs that start with exposition and end with jokes dotted throughout the text. I loved everything about this book except for the cliffhanger ending...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
Profile Image for Eve.
49 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2018
Darker than the Douglas Adams universe, but lighter than Game Of Thrones, a perfectly absurd dark fantasy.
You would think that in a place where swear words conjure goblins, cannibals live in the neighboring nation, and blood-drained murder victims are turning up, that paperwork would be the least of your worries. But in Sam Hooker‘s absurdly humorous fantasy tale “Peril In The Old Country,” over-anxious accountant Sloot Peril’s life is turned upside down after he revises a coworker’s disastrously written report and is suddenly propelled into an aristocratic world of adventure, intrigue, murder plots, double-crossing, and much more.
Read my full review here: geeksofdoom.com/2018/06/05/book-review-peril-in-the-old-country
Profile Image for Cassondra Windwalker.
Author 17 books99 followers
August 19, 2018
A rollicking fantasy replete with biting political commentary and whimsical snark, Peril In The Old Country positively pushes the reader from page to page. Even the dutiful funk I've clung to of late could do nothing to prevent me from laughing out loud on at least every other page. Hooker creates a familiar world whose woes and - sorry, can't resist - perils are all too well-known to the modern reader although the magical elements are entirely original. Possibly my favorite part of the book is the delightfully inventive swearing which leaves the blue-tongued sailors of the "real" world sadly ashamed of the drabness of their own efforts. Strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy, humor, and a healthy swig of sarcasm.
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