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The Pariah

Novel by Graham Masterton (Scotland) 1983.

Following two of the author's best horror novels, The Wells of Hell and The Heirloom, was never going to be easy: especially after he set himself a new challenge. All his previous 'occult thrillers' (under his own name) were around 200 pages in length, his only longer efforts being the disaster novels, Plague and Famine. But The Pariah clocks in at 380 plus pages, making it the first of a series of longer, more ambitious horror novels. It is a success, proving that he can carry his regular sort of occult concept for double the length without losing pace. This accomplishment bode well for the future, and since this book Graham Masterton has delivered admirably and regularly.

Our hero is John Trenton, a maritime antique dealer in Granitehead, near Salem, in the heart of witch country. His wife Jane has been dead for over a month, but she has recently returned to him in ghost form. John soon finds out that others in the area have had similar experiences and that the whole town is noted for such apparitions, previously being called Resurrection. The key to the whole business turns out to be the ship called David Dark, sunk off the Granitehead peninsula in 1692. On board is the Aztec demon Mictantecutli, presider over the dead, sealed in copper to prevent any recurrence of the nightmare years he caused in Salem that prompted the famous witch trials. Naturally John is persuaded to attempt to free this demon in order to free Jane and the rest of the town. But at what cost?


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