Monday, 23 May 2011

Review of The Damned, MTUK

Not sure how often books get reviewed in music mags. It matters not for I've been lucky enough to have each of my Dead books reviewed in the ezine MTUK, a mag that rocks to the sound of a dark and sinister beat (you know the type: the stuff that makes your ears bleed and your eyes burst; marvellous!) Pete Woods seems to have become a fully fledged Deadling in his love of what I've created. And he's the first reviewer to mention the nod at Mad Max with the Land Rover driven by everyone's favourite alcoholic angel, Arielle; nicely! So, without further ado, behold: a rather nifty review of The Damned, book 3 of The Dead...

There will be no spitting here, well there might be and it will be thick and green and incredibly slimy but this is not about The Damned who we would normally write about, nothing to do with the latest exploits of Messrs Vanian and Sensible. This is in fact the closing part of a trilogy of horror novels written for younger readers, which started with The Dead and continued with The Dark, a thrilling ride it has been as well.

I was looking forward to the concluding episode, which follows on from the end of the last one and carries on at breakneck speed. I am not alone either as our editor is eagerly about to grab this and read it too. We don’t consider ourselves big kids really as these novels have plenty of bite that us older readers can appreciate as well. Let me make one thing very clear, although our main hero Lazarus is a mere teenager he is also now established as guardian of the dead and to put it simply the dead are not really very keen when it comes to behaving. The gang from previous instalments are all here, an angel who likes a dram or two called Arielle, faithful sidekick Craig, Abaddon a rotten or should that be rotting priest with revenge on mind and Red whose part in all this becomes more apparent as things unfold. Put these strong characters together with all manner of nasties and demonic foul fiends, a vehicle out of Mad Max and plenty of twists and turns and you will find yourself turning pages at fast and furious speed.

One thing that did impress and also make me feel sorry for the characters is the drive of the narrative. It is especially noticeable here that they never have time to relax for a second. Sleep, forget it, they may well be knocked out but there is little perchance to dream. Even if limbs are lost or indeed flesh is chewed off right down to the bone, they have to get straight back into the thick of it. I mentioned before in previous reviews what the scenarios reminded me of and was particularly pleased to see Fulci’s ‘Sea Of Darkness’ passage from The Beyond prior to the story starting. This is the reason that as an adult I can fully appreciate this; Gatward knows his horror and is not one to hold back on grue and gore for the sake of more sensitive readers.

I really enjoyed these three novels and hope to find time at some point to sit down and read them back to back (although there is a bit of a friend’s waiting list to borrow them). I also think there is plenty of scope for more in the future featuring the same characters but whatever David G goes onto write next I will be more than intrigued to quickly pick up and no doubt fail to put down till finished. A film would be great too but I have come to the conclusion that making it for an under 18 audience would be nigh on impossible, still if it ever sees the dark of night I would happily put myself in the frame for playing something nasty and dead!

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