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The Scourge

Novel by Nick Sharman 1980.

Scott Grønmark's first real novel after the tacky gem known as The Cats. The Scourge follows private detective Kiley (he doesn't use a first name, but after Miss Minogue he'd probably start), who is the traditional down on his luck type, always on the lookout for a case. But the next case comes when he least expects it. Beaten up and hung over, Kiley is getting a lift home from Anne Warren, ex-TV personality, when she freezes up in fear and drives off the road to her death. Kiley jumps to safety but is naturally inquisitive as to why the incident occurred at all. And when Max Bronson, Soho kiddie porn merchant, jumps under a tube train and Alan Brown drowns in his own bathroom, Kiley finds a link.

Straight out of Mickey Spillane, Kiley is as hardboiled a detective as you're ever likely to meet in a horror novel, and though a clich´┐Ż of sorts, at least he's a cliche from a different genre, leaving enough freshness in the role. As he conducts his investigation, more and more disparate people die in mysterious ways, more and more danger gets hurled at him and more and more surprises come our way courtesy of that nice Mr Grønmark. The Scourge hooks the reader early on and continues to hold him in suspense all the way to the end of the 200 pages, pretty much the perfect length for a pulp horror novel. There's not much to complain about here: there's not even one of Grønmark's American characters to spoil the brew. From Hamlyn, the publishers who invented the 'nasty' novel, this is British pulp horror at its best.


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