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Black Honey

Novel by Peter Saxon 1968.

Johnny Soames, a junior reporter on The Bastow Chronicle, is hired by a large London paper to help with an investigation into Richard Trevithick, a local man suspected of sadistic orgies and black magic rituals at his house not far from Bastow. Unfortunately Soames falls for his so-called housekeeper, a young nymphomaniac named Honey, who seems to have been involved with Trevithick (in more ways than one) since the age of fourteen. The investigation ends with Trevithick's death, and Honey gets closer and closer to Soames, in order to drive him mad and revenge Trevithick. Soames is blithely unaware of anything, and luckily Tim Dooley, another reporter on the story, realises what's happening, and tries to help him, even if it means putting himself into huge danger at Trevithick's coven's hideout.

The style of this novel is bizarre: the book is certainly enjoyable, but it seems like a prologue and it's sometimes difficult to distinguish the characters. Maybe it's because there, unlike Father John Dyball or Anne Ashby of the Guardians that feature in half of Saxon's books, none of the characters in Black Honey are particularly memorable. Japanese artist and teacher Kazuo Koike used to hammer into his pupils that "comics are carried by characters... if a character is well created, the comic becomes a hit." This works with any other entertainment medium as well, horror novels included, and it's where this novel falls down. Some books, like Robert R McCammon's Baal, are not that impressive to read, but become surprisingly memorable afterwards. This is the opposite: it's an intriguing and fascinating book to read, but it's difficult to recall much at all about it afterwards. Stephen D Frances, the man behind the house name this time out, did much better on previous year's The Disorientated Man.


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