Norman Bogner – Snowman (Nel, 1979)
The Snowman was back. On the icy slopes of a ski resort high in the Sierra Mountains of California they found the hideously mutilated body of a young woman. Only one man recognised the unique hallmark of her death. A man who had witnessed the monster’s terrible savagery at first hand and survived to tell the tale; the world had branded him a liar and a coward.
Now his chance had come to avenge the deaths of his friends, to prove his innocence and to face once again his old adversary – the Snowman
Only just started and already there’s been a bloodbath on Mount Everest. The Snowman is a big hairy cannibal with rows of sword-like teeth for tearing human flesh and he’s just wiped out nineteen of Bradford’s team by causing an avalanche (he melts the snow with his scary glowing eyes!). Bradford himself has been rescued by hideously mutilated Tibetan lamas who wear devil masks and then a cut to California where spoilt, whining Janice Pace has been named Miss Great Northern Resort’s Snow Queen of 1977 …..
Janice’s career as a Beauty Queen proves short lived as the Snowman hitches a lift on an iceberg and scampers up the mountain, meeting her as she ascends in the ski-lift. Jim Ashby, editor of the local rag, remembers writing about Bradford’s ill-fated expedition on Everest and realises the state of Janice’s body (face half-eaten, minus an eye, arm torn off, etc.) corresponds with the state of those Bradford claims were killed by the Yeti. Despite warnings that Bradford is a psycho who eats magic mushrooms, Ashby traces him to a poverty-stricken Native American camp and offers him a fortune to launch a Snowman hunt.
So, we have the small town journalist who senses his big scoop: very soon he’s joined by the greedy businessmen who want the killing covered up because it will scare the tourists away from their new multimillion dollar resort: next, the bunch of misfits and losers (one of whom, naturally, has to be bailed out of jail) who are expert climbers and will do anything for Bradford, even join him on a suicide mission if it means dollars, booze and women. Now all we need is for the monster to turn the tables and hunt down the hunters.
The scenes involving the monster are by far the best: his favoured method of killing is biting the victims head clean off while eviscerating them with his claws, and thankfully he gets to do this plenty although there are some lengthy gaps between attacks because he only comes out when it snows. The steamy sex scene is nothing to write home about, a strangely uninvolving bonk involving Bradford and Cathy the public relations officer before he goes off to do what a man’s got to do.
As with so many of the Nel’s, the ending is probably too abrupt but this was a fun read with three of four ghoulish set-pieces and plenty of suspenseful moments.