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The Devils of D-Day

Novel by Graham Masterton (Scotland) 1979.

Dan McCook is touring the battlefields of Normandy, making maps for a book on the Second World War. He discovers a rusting tank, seemingly abandoned by the roadside, but sealed with a crucifix on the turret. He discovers that it was one of thirteen ominously black tanks which devastated German lines during July 1944, leaving hundreds of Nazis dead, many in strange ways. Foolishly, McCook opens the tank, releasing one of the thirteen acolytes of the demon Adramelech, noted warmongers who had fought for Charlemagne, Joan of Arc and most recently, General Patton. Thus McCook and a young woman he has befriended have to embark on a crusade to recapture and destroy this acolyte.

There doesn't seem to be anybody about who can beat this guy at his own game - his characterisation is impeccable, his research seems detailed and accurate, and his sheer talent at writing makes his books compulsive reading. There are a few books in and amongst his many horror novels that tend to be categorised as occult thrillers: Tengu, The Manitou, The Djinn, The Heirloom etc; they tend to be around 200 pages long, deal with some aspect of the occult, and generally end up with at least an eight in my rating system. This is one of the above and only misses out on an extra couple of points because of the easy way out at the end: after building up all the problems, the solution seems a tad simple. But who cares, these books are fun. Make that fun underlined in red ink with capitals! One difference this book does have to the rest of the author's work is that it isn't set in the States: this one starts in France and expands its scope to England, making a refreshing change. Another good one.


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