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Friday, 20 October 2017

‘The Coven’ by Graham Masterton



Published by Head of Zeus,
5 October 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-78497635-4 (HB)

According to Graham Masterton, London in the mid-18th century was a city with a dark underbelly. Plus ├ža change, you might say – but if routine near-slave labour in factories and brothels catering for the most extreme of perversions exist nowadays, they're well hidden.

This is the world Beatrice Scarlet, qualified apothecary and single parent, finds herself embroiled in when she returns to her homeland from the brave new world that is America. She finds employment in St Mary Magdalene's Refuge for Fallen Women, an establishment which rescues girls and young women from prostitution, and teaches them to earn a living by less dangerous means.

All very worthy and well-meaning – except when girls go missing under apparently demonic circumstances from the factory owned by the refuge's main benefactor. Science-minded Beatrice refuses to believe their disappearance is the result of their own dabbling with witchcraft, and sets out to follow a far more down-to-earth trail of clues.

Beatrice's quest for the truth takes her deep into that dark underbelly, and into increasingly dangerous situations which leave her wondering who she can trust. Help comes from James, an attractive young teacher and Jonas Rook, a Bow Street constable, and also from unexpected sources, all vividly drawn in often gruesome detail.

The result is a complex story rich with historical detail, especially about the apothecary's trade. The author has clearly done a great deal of research into many aspects of the mid-18th century, and it finds its way on to the page in vivid colour – though I did wonder how much time he has spent around small children; Beatrice's eighteen-month-old daughter Florence is far more articulate and perceptive than any child of that age I've ever encountered. But she provides a welcome diversion from some of the more horrific elements, as does the growing attraction between feisty Beatrice and the rather dishy James.

The novel highlights the conflict between superstition and science which underpinned just about everything three hundred years ago – and also tells a graphic, fast-moving tale with a large element of horror threaded through the battle between good and evil. Beatrice Scarlet is a heroine of her own time who could teach a lesson or two to women of ours.
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Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Graham Masterton. was born in Edinburgh in 1946. His grandfather was Thomas Thorne Baker, the eminent scientist who invented DayGlo and was the first man to transmit news photographs by wireless. After training as a newspaper reporter, Graham went on to edit the new British menis magazine Mayfair, where he encouraged William Burroughs to develop a series of scientific and philosophical articles which eventually became Burroughsi novel The Wild Boys. At the age of 24, Graham was appointed executive editor of both Penthouse and Penthouse Forum magazines. At this time he started to write a bestselling series of sex 'how-to' books including How To Drive Your Man Wild In Bed which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. His latest, Wild Sex For New Lovers is published by Penguin Putnam in January, 2001. He is a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, Menis Health, Woman, Womanis Own and other mass-market self-improvement magazines. He lives in Surrey. His wife and agent Wiescka died on 27 April 2011, aged 65. He has just finished writing a black thriller featuring Irelandis only female detective superintendent, Katie Maguire, set in the Cork underworld; and a dark fantasy, Jessicais Angel, about a girlis search for five supposedly-dead children.
http://www.grahammasterton.co.uk/


Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.




‘Living Death’ by Graham Masterton





Published by Head of Zeus.
9 February 2017.
ISBN: 978-9781784081430

Living Death is the seventh book in the Katie Maguire series of police procedurals set in Ireland. Katie Maguire is a high-ranking detective in the Cork Garda and at the start of the book she begins an investigation into a break in at boarding kennels and the disappearance of a large number of dogs. During the break in the owner’s wife is raped and one of the perpetrators shot dead, which turns a simple case of dognapping into a murder investigation.

Meanwhile a young woman, Siobhan, is abducted from outside of a nightclub and forced to endure horrific mutilation by the surgeon of a private clinic, the details of which are gruesome. Siobhan isn’t the only one to go missing and as the book progresses the number of patients admitted to the clinic grows, each trying to cope with the unnecessary loss of sight, limbs and speech.

In contrast to the unnecessary mutilation of the victims, at home Katie is struggling to cope with having an ex-lover who has come to stay after the recent amputation of his legs, a situation she feels responsible for. The ex-lover is needy and trying to come to terms with the loss of his legs. He desperately tries to rekindle their relationship as if this will somehow make up for the loss.

With human mutilation and animal cruelty at its worst, this is not a book for everyone. However, Living Death is full of light and shade with empathy and tenderness balancing the horror. Graham Masterton cleverly shows the manic lifestyle of a high-ranking police officer. The mountain of paperwork and bureaucracy, as well as the day to day running of an investigation, and how it all impacts on a policewoman’s life.

This is a book of twists and turns, and threads that brilliantly weave throughout the book. No element is superfluous to the plot and there are surprises up to the very last page.
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Reviewer: Christine Hammacott

Graham Masterton. was born in Edinburgh in 1946. His grandfather was Thomas Thorne Baker, the eminent scientist who invented DayGlo and was the first man to transmit news photographs by wireless. After training as a newspaper reporter, Graham went on to edit the new British menis magazine Mayfair, where he encouraged William Burroughs to develop a series of scientific and philosophical articles which eventually became Burroughsi novel The Wild Boys. At the age of 24, Graham was appointed executive editor of both Penthouse and Penthouse Forum magazines. At this time he started to write a bestselling series of sex 'how-to' books including How To Drive Your Man Wild In Bed which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. His latest, Wild Sex For New Lovers is published by Penguin Putnam in January, 2001. He is a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, Menis Health, Woman, Womanis Own and other mass-market self-improvement magazines. He lives in Surrey. His wife and agent Wiescka died on 27 April 2011, aged 65. He has just finished writing a black thriller featuring Irelandis only female detective superintendent, Katie Maguire, set in the Cork underworld; and a dark fantasy, Jessicais Angel, about a girlis search for five supposedly-dead children.

Christine Hammacott lives near Southampton and runs her own design consultancy. She started her career working in publishing as a book designer and now creates covers for indie-authors. She writes page-turning fiction that deals with the psychological effects of crime.

 Her debut novel 
The Taste of Ash was published in 2015.

twitter: /ChrisHammacott
Facebook: /christinehammacott.author