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Archive for the ‘nightreader’ Category

Jory Sherman – Satan’s Seed

Posted by demonik on June 1, 2009

Jory Sherman – Satan’s Seed (New English Library, 1979)


Something evil stalked the peaceful valley, dredged up from the fires of Hell.

“When Sam Hinton took some ranch-hands to investigate – he found the steaming remains of his prize bull scattered over several yards of turf  ….”

Thanks to Nightreader for providing the scan and blurb.

Posted in Horror Fiction, Jory Sherman, NEL, nightreader, Novel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jeremy Brent – Plastic Man

Posted by demonik on May 28, 2009

Jeremy Brent – Plastic Man [Horror #4] (New English Library, 1974)


First NEL i ever bought, long since gone missing in action and i can’t tell you much about other than it concerns a scientist who builds a super-computer and before long the situation turns very Windows ME-shaped for him and those who get in his way. It seemed unusually nasty to me at the time but that might have been down to Mr. Brent’s style as much as anything else. We’ll see …


Posted in Horror Fiction, Jeremy Brent, NEL, NEL horror series 1-6, nightreader | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Raymond Giles – Night Of The Griffin

Posted by demonik on May 17, 2009

Raymond Giles – Night Of The Griffin (NEL 1971)

Richard Clifton-Day

Richard Clifton-Dey

Review by Nightreader

This is a pretty straightforward gothic romance with all the traditional elements you’d expect. Even for a reader who doesn’t know this genre it follows a fairly predictable pattern.

Beth St. Dennis is the heroine. She is encouraged by her far more glamorous flatmate Nina to accompany her to a Halloween party at her wealthy friend’s mansion, Griffon House, a suitably grand but spooky location. Griffon House is the family home of the Griffon family, in residence are the strikingly beautiful but wicked Maretta and her moody but attractive brother Robert.

Maretta is a witch, a white one she says, and wants Beth to view a Sabbat that is being held later in the evening. Maretta is interested in Beth because she has shown a talent for the Tarot and may be a gifted psychic. At the Sabbat Beth is charmed by Robert who persuades her to leave the Sabbat and spend time with him. Robert is a troubled man, he has scars on his wrists from a suicide attempt and is prone to deep and dangerous depressions.

Naturally Beth falls in love with Robert and he asks her to marry him. That is when things start to go wrong. Robert and Beth marry and this seems to be the catalyst for things to change. Beth begins to sense a great evil in the house, the stirring of the griffin perhaps, then Robert’s depression returns and he wants Beth to leave but wont say why. It eventually emerges that Maretta is the leader of a coven called the Children of the Griffin, whose members worship the Griffin as a manifestation of Satan himself. A sceptical Robert once pledged himself to the cult which demands that a member should never marry one outside the cult. Maretta now wants Beth to be initiated into the cult…

Sadly there isn’t a big satisfying Wheatley-esque finale but a kind of soppy cop-out, as Robert attempts to sacrifice himself to save Beth. Like I said this is all fairly predictable stuff, but apart from the weak ending, there are some good moments in the book. I liked the Children of the Griffin idea, the classic coven of hedonists, all prospering from their nefarious doings. Maretta is a good baddie, cool and sophisticated and scheming.

But in the end it’s not as good as ‘Night of the Warlock’…

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Errol Lecale – The Death Box

Posted by demonik on May 16, 2009

Errol Lecale – The Death Box (Nel, 1974)

Death Box

Death Box

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.

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Louise Cooper – Blood Summer

Posted by demonik on May 13, 2009

Louise Cooper – Blood Summer (Nel, 1976)

Louise Cooper - Blood Summer

Louise Cooper - Blood Summer

Review by Nightreader of Vault Of Evil

(Spoilers within…)

Marion and Roland, two students on a camping holiday in Cornwall, meet the mysterious Keith Sharwood while looking for a spot to set up camp. Sharwood is a strange man, looking like “a half-finished painting by an artist with an obsession about death”. Marion soon falls under his spell and when the couple are invited to Sharwood’s house party her attraction to him intensifies. Sharwood shows Marion a unique gold statue, in the image of a hermaphrodite with the head of a bird of prey and two giant serpents entwined around it – it is a four thousand year old statue from the ancient city of Ninevah.

It isn’t long before Sharwood beds Marion and poor unsuspecting Roland gets the heave-ho. Soon after her decision to be with Sharwood she discovers his secret – that he is a vampire who has just killed Roland, she finds Sharwood still covered in his blood.

Sharwood has a lot of explaining to do, and Marion is surprisingly easy to convince. He admits to being a vampire, except he doesn’t sleep in a coffin during the daylight hours and is not repelled by the crucifix. The light of the sun merely weakens and tires him and he can be killed by any conventional method. Sharwood says: “I’m a human being who can only survive by drinking blood. Human or animal, it doesn’t matter… Sometimes I am completely taken over by the compelling force within me; I know I must eat, and I kill. I can’t control it until my hunger is completely satiated”.

Marion resolves to help Sharwood cure his ‘vampirism’, for actually it’s a four thousand year old curse put on his ancestor in Ninevah and passed down through reincarnation.

There are strong gothic romance elements in this story – the plucky, determined damsel who falls in love with the charismatic, yet cursed, hero. The atmospheric Cornish setting, lots of impending menace, and the triumph of love over all.

For me the enjoyment factor was quite low, I’m not a huge fan of this kind of story (although I can occasionally appreciate a Dark Shadows/Barnabas Collins story). The cover held so much promise, and to be fair this isn’t bad, just not my cup of coffee. I see also that Keith Sharwood turns up in Cooper’s ‘In Memory Of Sarah Bailey’ which appears to be a direct sequel. It’s on the shelf waiting, might be a while before I get to that one though…

Blood Summer thread on Vault Mk. 1

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