Posted by demonik on June 23, 2009
Errol LeCale – Zombie (New English Library, 1975)
One of several titles i don’t have accompanying blurbs for, but in the case of Zombie, the penultimate book in the Specialist series, it hardly matters as Curt Purcell has written splendid reviews of all six novels on the indispensible Beyond The Groovy Age Of Horror blog.
Posted in Errol Lecale, Horror Fiction, NEL, Novel | Tagged: Curt Purcell, Eli Pogram, Errol Lecale, fiction, horror, Mara, NEL, New English Library, paperback, The Specialist, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on May 16, 2009
Errol LeCale – The Severed Hand (New English Library, 1974)
The severed hand
The fingers crept smoothly round the man’s thick throat, not wakening him. And when they were in position they closed like a vice.As the body thrashed his hands clutched at the strangling hand , sought for a grip on the arm , the body that was murdering him. But there was no arm , no body. There was only a hand , a strangling hand that gripped tighter and tighter. For the Specialist and his two assistants this was a case that led them to face dangers as great as they were inexpilicable in terms of anything Eli Podgram had ever known of in the Twilight World. This was a time when they learned to live with horror.
Thanks to Killercrab for providing the scan and back cover blurb.
Posted in Errol Lecale, Horror Fiction, NEL, Novel | Tagged: Eli Pogram, Errol Lecale, fiction, horror, Killercrab, Mara, NEL, New English Library, paperback, The Specialist, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on May 16, 2009
Errol Lecale – The Death Box (Nel, 1974)
Review by Nighteader
As with the other ‘Specialist’ books this has a strong atmospheric opener. The steam-ship ‘Unity’ encounters a drifting tall ship in the calm waters of the Sargasso Sea, it’s sails set but it’s crew missing. On boarding the craft crusty old sea dog Captain Macneil finds provisions but no log book or charts, all seems to point to the Dutch ship’s Captain and crew abandoning the vessel. Captain Macneil decides to tow the ship back to London as salvage.
Eli Podgram, the Specialist in all occulty things, reads with interest the story in ‘The Times’ about the abandoned ship brought to the docks in London and the mystery surrounding her. He gets a whiff of the Twilight World and sets out to investigate. There’s a quick introduction of the rest of the team, big Hugo and deaf-mute Mara, a further recap (for those not familiar with the series) of Podgram’s history – how he was once bitten and turned into a vampire in his ancestral home in Transylvania, and how he proceeded to attack the young Mara in the woods thus terrifying her into being a deaf-mute, how he overcame his vampire curse with a blood tranfusion from a dying monk and in his guilt offers to care for the young girl he’d almost killed. Podgram’s brief journey into the Twilight World leaves him with a distinctive white cross in his hair. From then Eli Podgram vows to fight against the Twilight World and forms a close telepathic bond with the girl Mara and a strong friendship with Hugo, his muscular manservant.
It soon transpires there’s a vampire loose in London. Naturally not just any old vampire, this is Dagmar the Black, Archduke of Szlig in Lower Ruthenia, an Adept of the Black Arts. This is what I call a proper vampire, he’s tall and darkly dressed with a wide brimmed hat and burning eyes and a stench of decay about him. He hides his coffin filled with his native earth in a seedy lodging house and proceeds to feed off whoever gets in his way…
There’s lots of dramatic chasing around, Eli goes onto the Astral Plane, Mara is almost vamped and there’s a great finale in the British Museum. This was great fun, a bit of a cliché perhaps but it was just like reading a classic Hammer vampire flick – swirling fog in Victorian London, high melodrama, a bit of occulty stuff, proper fanged vampires with hypnotic eyes, and a big satisfying finale. A brilliant quick read I thought.
Posted in Errol Lecale, Horror Fiction, NEL, nightreader, Novel | Tagged: Andy Veasey, Eli Podgram, Errol Lecale, fiction, horror, NEL, New English Library, nightreader, paperback, The Death Box, The Specialist, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on May 13, 2009
Errol Lecale – Blood Of My Blood: Specialist #6 (Nel, July 1975).
The Specialist meets his most deadly enemy yet – the devil within himself
Must the Specialist, Eli Podgram, destroy himself to free the world from its most deadly peril — the powers of darkness?
Never had Eli Podgram expected to return to that dank, decaying castle in vampire-ridden Transylvania which held the dark secrets of his heritage. But the call came, a call from the simple and kindly people of his ancestral estates who had reared and protected him in his youth. It was their plea the Specialist could not ignore.
He could not know that the Twilight World had massed its powers to lure him back to the one place in the world where he was most vulnerable to their powers – the home of the werewolf, the vampire, the part-woman part-cat who was evil incarnate. All these were ready to meet and overpower Eli Podgram on his return home.
How was he to combat the last and most fiendish weapon of all? How could he conquer his own blood?
“Mad, they have all gone mad, all the village …. All my people … fighting, killing, raping …”
The final book in the series sees the Specialist saddled with upper class twit Prof. ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ Imrie and his alleged niece, Anthea Gwen-Jones on a trek to Castle Podgram in the old country where some fool has opened the iron door, unleashing what may prove to be the vampire that caused so much grief way back before even The Tiger Of Terrahpuh! Of course, it’s nowhere near as simple as that, and the vampire is arguably the least of his worries as at least he’s had plenty of previous with the undead. How about a were-cat so single-minded and evil she’d soon have the snooty, similarly gifted/ cursed Ktara from Robert Lory’s Dracula Returns series minding her ‘P’s and ‘Q’s!
This is not the best of Mr. “Lecale”‘s 128 pagers to begin on, but only because it’s an attempt at tying up the loose ends from the previous five. Other than that, it’s a barnstormer of a thing, so much so that I’ll need another crack at it to make sure I didn’t miss loads- and I only re-read it last week! Will Mara retain the power of speech? how will she react to Eli if and when she recalls what really happened between them when she was a happy little peasant girl singing and frolicking in the fields? Will the forces of nastiness finally succeed in giving her a shag, thus depriving her of her powers? What happened to that dying Priest Podgram swopped blood with way back when? Can Hugo possibly go an entire chapter without pawing a French maid? Will the ending be as piss-poor as we’ve come to expect?
The answers of some of these questions and so much more await you in the triumphant Blood Of My Blood!
Posted in Errol Lecale, NEL, Novel | Tagged: Errol Lecale, fiction, horror, NEL, New English Library, paperback, Specialist, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by demonik on October 7, 2007
Errol Lecale – Tigerman Of Terrahpur (NEL 1973)
The first of the Specialist series opens with a killing just outside a city in the Terrahpur region of India. A girl on her way to meet her secret lover is pursued through the jungle, she takes refuge in a simple hut…
“Through the weathered planking of the door came a vile and terrifying odour. It had blood in it and the earthiness of the jungle floor. But over all there was something wildly animal, feline. It reminded her of a visit to the Maharajah’s private zoo…”
It is the Maharajah who requests the aid of Eli Podgram, the Specialist in matters of the ‘Twilight World’. So it’s off to India for Eli and his assistants Mara and Hugo…
I enjoyed this one: a were-tiger, an evil Kali cult with a nasty high priest, occult shenanigans… what more could you ask for? Well, if I’m going to be picky I’d have liked a bit more of the tigerman (he’s hardly in it).
It’s a good start to the series though. The characters are established and are likeable enough – it looks like Podgram is a bit useless when it comes to physical dangers so it’s a good job he has Hugo when things get iffy. Mara looks like she’ll be a damsel in distress more often than not.
Looking forward to the rest of the series now. ‘Castledoom’ is on the shelf, waiting…
Review and scan by Andy aka Nightreader of Vault.
Posted in Errol Lecale, Horror Fiction, NEL, nightreader, Novel | Tagged: Eli Pogram, Errol Lecale, fiction, horror, Kali, NEL, New English Library, paperback, Specialist, Thuggee, Tigerman Of Terrahpur, Vault Of Evil | Leave a Comment »