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Posts Tagged ‘The Specialist’

Errol LeCale – Zombie

Posted by demonik on June 23, 2009

Errol LeCale – Zombie (New English Library, 1975)

lecalezombie

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.

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Stephen King – The Dark Half

Posted by demonik on June 23, 2009

Stephen King – The Dark Half (New English Library, 1990)

kingdarkhalf

Blurb;

The sparrows are flying again.
The idea – unbidden, inexplicable – haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont’s mind.

Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona ‘George Stark’, author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever.

And yet … the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont’s world.

THE DARK HALF a masterpiece of imagination from the world’s bestselling author.

Posted in Horror Fiction, NEL, Novel, Stephen King | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Errol LeCale – The Severed Hand

Posted by demonik on May 16, 2009

Errol LeCale – The Severed Hand (New English Library, 1974)

The severed hand

The severed hand

Blurb:

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.

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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.

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

Errol Lecale – Castledoom

Posted by demonik on October 7, 2007

Errol Lecale – Castledoom; Specialist #2 (Nel, Jan., 1974)

 

lecalecastledoom600

 

Glenballoch, Scottish Highlands. In the sixteenth century, Chieftain Red Rory MacGlennie was duped into selling his soul to the Devil. From that day forth he was accompanied by an all-seeing raven, Clootie, and his already brutal nature took a turn for the sadistic. When Clootie informs him that his wife, Fiona, is having an affair with inoffensive young scholar Donald Og he demonstrates his cruelty, blinding the boy with his sword then falling upon his wife and hacking her down, cutting off a breast and toasting it on the fire for he and his familiar to share. With her dying breath, Fiona curses her husband that he will never know rest until he has been quartered and the pieces buried in four separate parishes.

Donald Og survives his mutilation to tell the MacLeans what Red Rory of the abominations Red Rory has performed on their kinswoman. They retaliate by drugging the Chieftain’s drink, tying him to a chair and walling him up alive in the dungeon of Castledoom, lobbing in his infernal bird before the last brick is laid.

Cut to the present day (it’s difficult to tell when that is supposed to be: it doesn’t seem to be the nineteen-seventies) and Ewan MacGlennie, Laird of Glenballoch and master of Castledoom is preparing to wed the haughty, schooled Lady Morag MacLean. During construction work at the castle, the sealed room is opened and out burst Red Roger and his cawing sidekick. Within a short time of their escape three young women – all of them MacLeans – are set upon, and in the worst instance, one of the victims is left with a red scar that encircles her breast. Red Rory is gaining in power the longer he remains at liberty. What is there to be done?

Laird MacGlennie wisely travels down to London and seeks the assistance of – the Specialist!

****

I’ll say this for Mr. Lecale. He gives good gruesome murder. Once Red Rory is reacquainted with his magical brooch and dagger he makes a terrifying adversary, tearing open bodies and ripping out the internal organs whenever he feels peckish. After his beard and kilt are set ablaze he’s more disgusting to look upon than ever – which is bad news for Lady Morag, him having taken such a shine to her that he wants a quick snog before her tears out her intestines and feeds her eyes to Clootie!

On this performance, Eli Podgram is the ego-tripping glory seeker of the trio as he makes as many bad calls as good and without Hugo’s bravery and resourcefulness the ghoul would have decimated the village population to just himself and Clootie. Mara twice saves Morag’s life, on the first occasion grabbing her by the hair and yanking her back into the room when the fiend has nearly enticed her to jump from the window (the spookiest moment in the novel).

See also Vault’s The Specialist thread.

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