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Book Reviews


Prey   Graham Masterton

The first book I've read by this prolific writer. For whatever reason, this is the first of his books to published in the US in quite a while.

Prey concerns the efforts to restore the fortyfoot house and the events surrounding. Of course as is par for the horror genre there is all manner of weirdness going on.

However the skill that this obviously seasoned writer brings to the task is truly wonderful. With sharp characterization, unique angles on a old premise, a great sense of pace, and some absolutely stunning instances of extreme violence, Masterton draws the reader in consistently.

Make no mistake about these instances of violence. Masterton is no splatterpunk. He creates palpable dread with these gory setpieces. The amazing thing is how carefully timed they are. The violence is only one of numerous devices used to move things along. This book is expertly layered

The handful of expertly deployed sex scenes are not a distraction from the story but actually amplify specific elements of the story. The plotline which while based in certain Lovecraftian ideas adds enough spin through clever bits of research/extrapolation that the book is clearly knocked free from the orbiting pastiches which surround HPL's unique works. Off hand I cannot think of a better novel length Mythos tale.

By drawing connections to Lovecraft, Masterton even pushes the tale beyond the dark old house premise by pulling in time travel and dark fantasy ideas. The story manages to keep us inside the first person experience of David Williams, the narrator, while insistently expanding the scope to cosmic preprortions.

But if you want all manner of ghostly visions and darkened halls, Masterton does not disappoint. The mood inherent to the location is never scarificed simply to show how clever the author is. He plants himself in the horror genre while pushing firmly at the boundries.

Another point of interest is while Masterton is certainly an English writer, there is an immediacy which points more in the direction of American horror writers. I appreciated the mix of foward propulsion and cool atmospherics. The closest thing I can compare it to is Clive Barker before he got overly ambitious.

A great horror novel with much to offer the casual reader who doesn't equate light reading with something that blows away under close inspection. A page turner in the best sense of the word. If sex ,gore, and reality busting plots are your bag, you can't do much better than this.

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