Saturday, October 4, 2014

Doomflight by Guy N. Smith

Some people mistakenly believe the world would be a better place without paperbacks like Doomflight. Yes, they believe if we could but rid ourselves of such “entertainments” the bluebirds would sing happily in the sun-drenched garden of their lives and we could smile Pepsodent smiles while holding hands and singing hymns. Well, screw ‘em. Guy N. Smith is a friggin’ pulp paperback icon and wickedly cool writer. I hope he writes a hundred more like this. Doomflight is a page-turning spookfest. Think of it as caviar for us paperback horror fanatics. Here’s the spooky scoop: Fradley airport is deserted; a cracked mess of concrete and scrubland. The place has a history of strange deaths and rumors of a dead airman who haunts the place. Best of all – and this is a typical Guy N. Smith touch – there may have been ancient Druids up to some nasty business around a stone circle on the site. I love it when Smith tosses in some ancient Druid subplot. When  a private company decides to turn the site into a major airport they run into some deadly trouble. Usually, the people that run into trouble in a Guy N. Smith story get what they deserve. Count on it here. The evil presence here is The Bird of Evil itself. The prose is delicious: “Weston felt the cold fingers of the fog touching him, its vile stench seeping into his nose and mouth; gases that had lain trapped in this bog for years now seeking revenge for their imprisonment. He tasted their foulness, the rancid flavor of something that was old and evil.” (p. 141) Doomflight tastes just right to me this Halloween season. The edition I own is the 1984 reprint from Arrow Books in London.

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