Thursday, November 25, 2021


 A while back, I bought a 3 in one volume of James Herbert novels for the last novel included, one that was advertised in a pulp paperback I read as a kid. 

Any rate, let's break these down.

The lead novel, The Fog, sadly has nothing to do with John Carpenter's 80's film. Instead, we're in a small village in south central England where an Earthquake manages to unleash long buried genetically modified germs that make hosts violent. (The book was published in the early 70's, but it kind of reminds me of the more recent Mad Cow outbreak.) Our hero, Mr. Holman, is a former government man, who somehow gains immunity from the germs, but given the cloud of yellow germs has an almost sentience going on, it's a long process trying to stop it. The narrative here tends to drift a bit, as we get occasional scenes of what happens to people caught in the fog before everything resolves at the end. 

In the middle lies The Spear, wherein Mr. Steadman, a former SAS and Mossad Agent now working as a gumshoe goes up against a British-German conspiracy involving the Thule Society and the Longinius's Spear. 

And last, we wind up with Sepulchre, in which Mr. Halloran, who also worked in Army intelligence, but who now works for a company protecting people from kidnapping, ends up dealing with a client trying to bring back Bel-Marduke. 

All three are breathless and pulpy reads, albeit enjoyable breathless and pulpy reads. There are prescient bits in here; in The Fog, an infected pilot steers his jumbo jet into a major London landmark, for instance. 

We also have some problematic bits and a few mixed bags thrown in. One particularly bad part is the reveal of a hermaphrodite in The Spear, whose reveal is met with revulsion and a severe beating. Both The Fog and Sepulchre include minor gay characters, which is rare in that era of horror; however, in both, the gay guys are on the bad side. On the other hand, they fact that they're gay doesn't make them evil in these narratives, they just have other evil acts they perform that do. 

Fun reads, but definitely from a different era. 

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