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The Undead

Novel by Guy N Smith (England) 1983.

After his The Lurkers of only a year before, Guy Smith gives us essentially the same novel. Ron Halestrom is a new author, one successful book behind him, who moves into a new home with his family, to write more. But naturally, Gabor House has a dark secret which is trying to drive them away. Two hundred years before, it was the old manor house: home to the Mainwarings, owners of much of the locality. Young children had been going missing, but it took their own daughter Isobel's disappearance for them to send out a search party. They find Bemorra, the local imbecile, throwing her into the Gabor Pool, a flooded quarry of huge and indeterminate depth. Bemorra is, of course, hanged until he is dead, but he has enough time to curse the locals. With another local imbecile plaguing the Halestroms, it seems likely that the curse is becoming active again.

Apart from Ron Halestrom being a blatant copy of Peter Fogg from The Lurkers, we have Amanda, a young deaf heroine akin to Rowena Catlin from Manitou Doll and a dangerous abyss like The Sucking Pit. The curse follows that of The Pluto Pact and the rural antagonism towards any outsiders goes back to The Lurkers again. But for what is easily the most self-plaguaristic novel I've ever read (even more so than Richard Laymon's consistent use of characters with astonishingly similar personalities), this is still an enjoyable pulp read. There's absolutely nothing demanding about it, with an obvious plot and no twists; but Smith's characters move and breathe in their usual believable if stereotypical way, and they save the day. Just. And a warning to vampire addicts, even though this is called The Undead, none of that species appear.


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