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Posts Tagged ‘nightreader’

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’…

Posted in Horror Fiction, NEL, nightreader, Novel, Raymond Giles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Errol Lecale, Horror Fiction, NEL, nightreader, Novel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Laurence James – Paradise Lost

Posted by demonik on September 15, 2007

Laurence James – Paradise Lost (NEL 1984) paradise lost

Review by Nightreader

Paradise is the name of a very secluded, very exclusive and expensive Caribbean resort village for the pampered rich. The inhabitants of the luxury cabins on this remote island are real horrors in themselves: a surgery enhanced old lady with her stud toy boy, an aging gangster with his underage hooker playmate, a honeymooning gossip columnist with a cocaine habit and a very rich wife…

There’s also a brutal psychotic killer on the island, waiting to pick them off one by one.

The island staff are routinely swapped on Mondays, just when a huge storm hits the island, ensuring that the relief staff from the mainland are unable to land. The guests on the island are trapped. Someone has sent a message to the mainland saying the jetty is damaged and can’t receive the new staff…then the radio is smashed to bits. And the killings start.

This was a great fun read. Basically it’s Agatha Christie’s  Ten Little Niggers but with lots of sex and gory murders. And in the best tradition of whodunnits the killer isn’t revealed till the very end. There are lots of music references – one couple meet a very sticky end while Rod Stewart is playing on the stereo!

Nothing complicated here, the characters are interesting and superficially pretty awful people (just how we imagine celebs to be). Strangely you find yourself rooting for them by the end.

Good stuff. Recommended.

Review by Nightreader

Posted in Horror Fiction, Laurence James, NEL, nightreader, Novel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Robert Lory – Dracula’s Brothers

Posted by demonik on September 15, 2007

Robert Lory – Dracula’s Brothers  (Pinnacle 1973 – NEL version 1974)

Draculas Brothers

In this third installment of the series the setting is New York. A crazy scientist has genetically modified vampire bats, while his equally crazy twin brother has trained them to kill. Unknown to disgraced scientist August Abelard his twin brother Adrian (a down on his luck ex-vaudevillian) has been been training the new breed of bats to attack, with the addition of razor sharp metal sheaths for the wing claws. After a couple of attacks Adrian is ready to put his demands to the Mayor of New York, one million dollars or members of the United Nations will be next.

Sanford Proctor, a retired yet influential advisor to the police, calls on Professor Harmon to help. The story seems to take place shortly after the events of ‘The Hand Of Dracula’ since the Count is still bound by the wager he made with Harmon – to comply with the Prof’s wishes for six months. Naturally Dracula is reluctant to kill the bats, who he refers to as his “little brothers” – this leads to the inevitable conflict with Harmon. It is Cameron Sanchez who points out that the controller of the bats is the one they are really after. The slinky and mysterious Ktara is also on hand to give poor Cam some extra brain ache.

Throw NYPD Detective Hank Nevarre into the mix, who has a real obsessive grudge against Cam, and the scene is set for it all to kick off. There’s an impressive battle with the bats on the rooftop of the UN building and the story moves along swiftly.

The bats are interesting and effective but the real star of the show still is Count Dracula: “The sleek black hair was moving down the high arched forehead. The nostrils of what had been an aquilline nose were flattening, and the lips were drawing back from teeth which were no longer those of a human being but more like the the fangs of some savage meat-tearing animal. And those eyes that had flashed red were now totally so, except for the very centres which were tiny pin points of white searing heat…”

Totally satisfying read from cover to cover.

Review by Nightreader

See also Vault’s Dracula’s Brothers thread

Posted in Horror Fiction, NEL, nightreader, Novel, Robert Lory | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »