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Posts Tagged ‘Novel’

Stephen King – The Running Man

Posted by demonik on June 7, 2014

Stephen King – The Running Man (NEL, 1993)


Every night they tuned in to the nation’s favourite prime-time TV game show:
They, all watched, from the sprawling polluted slums, to the security-obsessed enclaves of the rich. They all watched the ultimate live death game as the contestants tried to beat, not the clock, but annihilation at the hands of the Hunters. Survive thirty days and win the billion dollar jackpot –that was the promise. But the odds were brutal and the game rigged. Best score so far was eight days.

And now there was a new contestant, the latest Running Man, staking his life while a nation watched.

The Running Man  is also available as part of the one volume edition  The Bachman Books by Stephen King

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William Godwin – Caleb Williams

Posted by demonik on June 29, 2011

William Godwin – Caleb Williams   (Four Square, June 1966)


WILLIAM GODWIN, renowned as he is for this masterpiece, Caleb Williams is probably even better known as the father of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who was the creator of the greatest of all horror stories, Frankenstein. Born in 1756, Godwin had a Christian upbringing but suddenly and inexplicably turned ‘complete unbeliever’ in 1787. He took up writing and set out deliberately to attack all the standards of society — much of his energy concentrated on marriage, which he called ‘the worst of all laws’. He also attacked the powers of landlords and spearheaded his campaign with this book. To support himself and his family he ran a bookselling business which gradually pushed him further and further into debt until finally he sought a job in the civil service. In later life his writing became less antagonistic — and less successful. He died in 1836.

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Michael Slade – Headhunter

Posted by demonik on June 16, 2009

Michael Slade – Headhunter (New English Library, 1993)

Chris Moore

Chris Moore

Blurb from NEL edition of Cutthroat:

By the time the second mutilated body was found, the press were talking about the Headhunter and the city of Vancouver was ready to explode with fear.

And then the photographs arrived. Carefully posed shots of the women’s heads stuck on poles. Enough to convince Superintendent Robert DeClercq that they were dealing with a very special kind of killer. A killer who inhabited a bizarre world of cannibalism, torture and sexual perversion.

A killer who was only just beginning …

‘Bizarre … full of tension and mystery with unforget­e scenes and weird happenings’ – The Scotsman
‘Well  written, very well researched … a gripper’ – Daily Mail
‘Macabre … a very polished tale’ – Sunday Telegraph
‘A thinking man’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ – The Vancouver Sun

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Stephen Gallagher – Valley Of Lights

Posted by demonik on October 6, 2007

Stephen Gallagher – Valley Of Lights (Nel, 1988)

Phoenix Police Sergeant Alex Volchak is having a hard enough time holding together the somewhat battered remains of his life even before the call to the Paradise motel. It is at this sleazy location that he finds the bodies – inert and barely clinging to life – that the local press are quick to label ‘zombies’. And when one of them seems to have got up from a hospital bed and simply walked away, Volchak has a major problem on his hands. It is a problem, furthermore, which no-one else seems anxious to share, even when Alex becomes convinced that the incident is related to a gruesome set of murders.

Is it me, or is that a deathly dull cover? Either way, it’s the reason why I passed on Valley Of Lights until Jerrylad kindly gave me a copy at Zardoz. More fool me.

Part 1: The Shell Game

Sergeant Alex Volchak lives for his job because, as he points out, since his wife left him his world outside is an empty void. All that might be about to change. Lately he’s struck up a friendship with single mum Loretta and her little daughter Georgina and romance is in the air.

On the professional front, he’s been called to a sleazy dump in Skid Row central to investigate the pseudo-‘death’s of three men from wildly different backgrounds who have no business sharing a room, but there they are, slumped before the TV, literally brainless. Their breathing borders on the non-existent and when he attempts to move one the guy gives up the ghost altogether.

Volchak learns that the room was rented to Gilberto Mercado, a Mexican with a badly beat-up face on account of his hanging around playgrounds sizing up infants, and decides to wait for him to return. However, when Mercado sets eyes on him, he legs it, dropping his grocery bags which smash on the pavement. His shopping consists of umpteen cans of baby food in various flavours which he’s evidently been using as sustenance for the trio in suspended animation. When Volchak eventually nails his man, the Mex deliberately drops dead on him. At that precise moment, one of the ‘zombies’ springs up on its trolley and beats it out of the Hospital.

Shortly afterward, it commits the first of the child murders.

Volchak realises that the zombie, the two other brain-deads and the late Mercado have each of them been used as a host body by a terrible elemental, although how he can make his superiors buy his enlightened theory is another matter. Thinking to put an end to the body-thievery, he locates the next zombie-in-waiting and garrottes him, dumping his corpse in the waste disposal. Locating the escaped patient, he drives him out into the desert. The parasite admits to what he is but warns Volchak that he can’t be destroyed. When the sergeant informs him that he no longer has a body to flee into, the entity seemingly panics. Volchak blows him away. The End.

Or so he thinks …

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Guy N. Smith – The Wood

Posted by demonik on October 6, 2007

Guy N. Smith – The Wood (Nel, 1985)

The Living died but the Dead lived on.

You only have to see that unutterably brilliant tag-line to know you’ve come to the the right place.

Carol Embleton has decided to ditch her conservationist boyfriend, Andy Dark, because he’s always looking at badgers instead of showing her a good time. Thoroughly miserable, she decides to go to the village disco alone and run away to the London the following day. After an evening’s boogieing to Status Quo (it’s the ‘eighties) she heads off home. As its sheeting down rain, against her better judgement she accepts a lift from a passing motorist. It’s not her lucky night. The good samaritan is sex-killer James Foster and his idea of a chat up line is to display the handkerchief he’s just jerked off into. Faced with death, Carol succumbs to his lust, then legs it naked into the woods with the repulsive Foster in pursuit..

Carol has never been in Droy Wood before, but she’s heard all the talk. The locals murmur darkly of the Droy family of a few generations back, landowners who tortured smugglers to death in their now derelict mansion. Of a Nazi fighter pilot who parachuted into the evil-reeking bog-land and, despite a huge manhunt, was never seen again. Local wisdom has it that, when a mist descends on the wood unpleasant things happen and you’re well advised to stay clear of the place ….

Local wisdom was right for once. Droy Wood has the uncanny knack of replaying evil deeds from days past and, if you’re caught in there when a mist falls you’re not coming out. Carol is taken prisoner by Bertie the Nazi and shackled in the rat infested dungeon of the Droy house. Meanwhile, Andy is apprehended by brutal Customs men from centuries past after witnessing them torturing a boy smuggler – he’s dumped in the same cell as his girlfriend. A police man-hunt has no luck in finding Foster, so they decide to use Carol’s best friend Thelma in a reconstruction of her abduction to see if it jogs any memories. Unfortunately, the cop who picks her up is possessed by the rapist so we have another naked girl loose amidst the “rancid marsh odours”. It’s not as if what’s left of Foster will be of much help to the police in any case because he’s fallen into the clutches of the Oak Priests, a druid-like sect with a thing about human sacrifice.

As you would expect, the deaths come fast and furious and all the disparate parties get to try their hand at murdering somebody. In one memorably gruesome episode Thelma – who really goes through a rotten time of it – meets Elsie, a little girl in curiously old-fashioned clothing, who insists on taking her off to meet her father – a rotting, animated corpse flaying around in a pit of slime. Elsie pushed him in the bog after he chopped up her mother with an axe. And now the child has it in her head that Thelma was her father’s lover. And she detests her father’s lover.

How to rate it? I thought it was fab, actually, reminiscent of his feted squelch-fest The Sucking Pit in many ways, with some very decent gory deaths to keep you on your toes. My only disappointment was that GNS didn’t make more use of the pub, The Dun Cow which, after showing some early promise, disappears from the story altogether.

Thanks to Ade ‘Killer Crab’ Salmon for providing me with a copy of this.

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