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The Djinn

Novel by Graham Masterton (Scotland) 1977.

After a thriller, Fireflash 5, and a disaster novel, Plague, Graham Masterton returns to the tale of supernatural evil that made him famous with The Manitou, and indeed brings back the chief character of that novel, fake clairvoyant Harry Erskine.

For the first time in many years, Harry comes back to Winter Sails, his godparents' house which he visited so often as a child, to bury his godparent Max Greaves. He finds that Max became somewhat eccentric in his old age, removing every face from the house, from portraits to photographs in newspapers, and finally to his own face which he cut off with a carving knife. He also sealed up an antique Persian jar in his garret and covered the door with magical seals. Harry and a mysterious woman named Anna investigate and discover the jar contains the djinn of Ali Babah, the most powerful djinn of the most powerful wizard in ancient Persia.

This follows the formula of The Manitou and cements the foundation on which his next six horror novels would be built. All these clock in at around 200 pages, yet contain good characterisation, twists of plot and plenty of the sort of quality horror that only a few writers can achieve. They are all also cracking good yarns and therefore receive accordingly high ratings here. The main twist of plot that ties everything together here is a tad convoluted, but that's a minor point when the book itself is as well-written and as thoroughly enjoyable as this one.

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