Your Daily NEL: New English Library

Cheap and Nasty Seventies Horror Pulp

Guy N. Smith – Killer Crabs

Posted by demonik on September 15, 2007

Guy N. Smith – Killer Crabs (NEL,  May 1978)

killer crabs

As the Rats found their Lair and the Slugs, their Breeding Ground, GNS’ crustaceans have found their Mangrove Swamp.
This is an odd one. The ‘lost’ Crabs book? I found a spare copy (if anyone needs one..?) and after a GNS fan on his site gave it a rave I thought I’d better get back to it. It’s a fast-paced entertaining read but somehow just misses the truly great award.

Four years on from Night Of … and we start promisingly with a prologue aboard a Scandinavian fishing vessel who land a four foot crab in their catch…the book proper kicks off in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef. Hayman Island to be precise. Home of rich person’s place to be The Royal Hayman Hotel. Also home to hunky beach bum Klin, sweaty journo Corder, pert,pouting sex mad Caroline Du Brunner (who is not all she’s made out to be), Captain Manton (who?) and Harvey Logan – the last of the big-game hunters, who’s turned up to bag a Great White – but a monster crab will do. Klin’s a fisherman, part time shark spotter and bit of rough for Ms Du Brunner who’s very interested in what’s hidden in his tatty denim shorts. He’s also seething about Japanese fish poachers, and after a close encounter with them, unites all the island fisherman and sends them out to deal with the fiendish orientals. The Japs gun down the Aussie leader and sail away laden with fish – the hapless fishermen end up in the pincers of the crabs,but, fear not, GNS equals things up by sending in more crab battalions to deal with the ecologically unsound Eastern anglers. After a break enabling Klin and Caroline to get jiggy and Professor Cliff Davenport (Huzzah!) to get called in.

The crabs mount a boffo attack on the jet-set hotel defying the might of the Australian Navy and Marines. What’s with the suitcase stuffed with money? Horny Caroline is bedding whichever male gets within five yards of her. A lucky shell from a destroyer in Barbecue Bay snuffs an unlucky nipper and Harvey Logan is claiming the credit. Prof Cliff’s worried. It’s crab spawning time and if the dirty little devils make like Ms Du Brunner there’ll be millions of the bastids. Where is that infernal Mangrove Swamp? GNS loses it towards the end but, for once in an FM review I thoroughly recommend the finale – a near as dammit ‘natural’ outcome.

A great page-turner but still the least involving of the crabs stories.

Review: Franklin Marsh

See Also Vault’s Guy N. Smith section

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