cover image Ghoul


Michael Slade. Beech Tree Paperback Book, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07550-7

Slade is a pen name for Jay Clarke, John Banks and Lee Clarke, the trio who previously produced Headhunter and now this excessively nasty horror story. The pages are crammed with nauseating details and incidents of maiming, murders, incest and other crimes committed in Canada, England and the U.S. While not sexually occupied with different women, Zinc Chandler of the RCMP investigates the putative musicians in the rock group, Ghoul, Rika Hyde and her brother Saxon Hyde (stage names, Erika Zann and Axel Crypt). In London, Scotland Yard's Hilary Rand faces demotion when she fails to stop a mad bomber and a bloodthirsty fiend. Chandler, meanwhile, learns that one of the Hydes' two half-sisters was killed, the body dissolved in an acid bath. He meets and falls in love with the other sister, Deborah, who seems the only sane member of the scandalous family. Interrupted continually by psychological analyses and quantities of needless details about paper-thin characters, the narrative becomes merely boring. The trio are no match for H. P. Lovecraft or other authors to whom they refer, apparently to validate the gory details of this mystery. Literary Guild alternate. (February 16)