Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Simon Clark
Published by Leisure Books
In every city, there are legends. Children dare each other to go to that house, or write their names on disintegrating bricks, or any of a thousand other games designed to show just how brave they are. In the tiny English town of Crowdale, that dare is to touch the “Ghost Monster,” a mosaic inside the Murrain family crypt. It is rumored to keep the ghost of Justice Murrain and his lunatic army imprisoned in the earth.
An archeological dig in an English cemetery unearths more than just bones and relics in this supernatural tale. It unleashes an evil trapped in a strange mosaic, one that runs roughshod over the town, and plunges its inhabitants into frenzied madness. And not in a good way. What could easily be a rehashed and clichéd plot, Ghost Monster tackles its subject with zeal and works hard to give the reader a story worth chewing on. Within the first few pages, readers realize that they’re in for a gothic story with such strange and supernatural elements that, although it’s a plot with which they’re already familiar, they’ll willingly go along for the ride.
Clark excels with his description of not only the landscape, but of the lives of the citizens of Crowdale as well. Through his writing, the town becomes less a setting in a book and more a real place. The characters are equally well-drawn in that readers do not have a hard time distinguishing between characters, or developing a real emotional attachment to them.
Ghost Monster is a well-written yarn with quite a few twists and turns. It keeps the reader’s attention without bludgeoning him with details or pandering. Some of the scenes in the book are truly chill-raising, while others are very tense and well worked. This book is well worth the read.
4 out of 5
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