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Entombed

Novel by Guy N Smith (England) 1982.

A change of pace for the Guy Smith of the early 1980s, this was sandwiched in-between his most pessimistic, downbeat work such as Doomflight, Warhead and The Pluto Pact. It fits much more snugly with his Sabat novels, also released during the period between 1980 and 1983, in which the prolific Smith outdid even himself and released nineteen horror novels in a mere four years. We follow the exploits of Simon Rankin, an ex-Jesuit who has failed in his marriage and in his exorcism of a local house. He meets up with another divorcee and they head together to Cwmgilla, a Welsh mining village, for something of a trip away from it all. But inside the Cwmgilla slate mines, now worked only by tourist guides, there is a dark secret. Rankin feels the evil as soon as he gets below ground, and he must overcome the niggling doubts that have plagued his faith, locate the exact form of the evil in Cwmgilla and exorcise it. But the evil is already striking back at him.

One of the most successful of Guy Smith's novels, it was reprinted four times and reached high sales figures. It is certainly one of his better books, with a clean and fresh plot completely free from the dark pessimism of the books mentioned above. It rolls along at speed in the usual Smith patented style, and the unusual setting earns it brownie points for originality. Not many horror novels are set mainly underground; Richard Laymon's magnificent Midnight's Lair springs to mind as the benchmark. Smith can turn novels like this out in his sleep (and probably did at this prolific point in his career) but, unlike some authors, they are of consistently good quality. Except for a mere fraction, even the worst are worth reading and this is one of the better ones.


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