Friday, March 30, 2018

Werewolf by Moonlight by Guy N. Smith


A month of Guy N. Smith concludes with a look back at his first novel.

This 1974 paperback from NEL – New English Library – is highly sought after in pristine condition by collectors of Guy N. Smith’s books. The book originally sold for 30 pence and a fine or pristine copy can sell today for as much as 50 pounds in the United Kingdom, or as much as $65.00 dollars here in the United States. Sometimes more. Dog-eared copies sell for about $20 or $30 here in the States. It should be noted, that certain of Guy N. Smith’s titles have sold for several hundred dollars. A solid, good condition copy of Werewolf by Moonlight is not easy to locate, although they exist. Collectors hang onto them. My copy was won at an e-bay auction and is signed by Smith, and it appears to be an unread copy. I would love to see a reprint made available of this book, and the two sequels, Return of the Werewolf and The Son of the Werewolf. This book is mandatory reading for fans of lycanthropic legends and lore. Werewolf by Moonlight was Guy N. Smith’s first published novel. This is absolutely an example of classic pulp fiction storytelling, and Guy’s first novel established his natural talent which immediately struck a chord with readers, and continues to do so today. Relatively short, approximately sixty thousand words, this slender paperback is the perfect armchair companion on a dark and stormy night, preferably in October, with the cold, autumn wind clawing at your window. Put a match to your pipe and lace your coffee with a snort of something wicked, and sit back and enjoy this tale of a Welsh werewolf at the Black Hill, the same area where Guy. N. Smith lives today. When young Philip Owen is bitten by an odd sheepdog, he slowly begins the transformation into a werewolf. The first noticeable sign is his increased sexual desire, which rages out of control and gets him in trouble immediately. Soon, he lays with a woman and for the first times tastes human blood. The transformation is complete, and Philip becomes the Black Hill werewolf. We are introduced to Gordon Hall, who will appear in a sequel. Hall is a werewolf hunter and a great character. Smith follows a time-honored tradition regarding werewolf stories and offers a seductive analogy for the human condition. The writing is imagistic, the characters believable, and the electric tension hot and heavy. An e-book version is also available. Werewolf by Moonlight is a classic Guy N. Smith novel.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Lurkers by Guy N. Smith


This 1982 paperback is a fine example of a writer using his talent to create a suspenseful, page-turning entertainment. This is a scary book. Real scary. Maybe too scary for some of you. The fear comes from the unyielding and lingering suspense that permeates each page. You can’t escape it. The story is about an author, Peter Fogg, who takes his wife and son to a Welsh cottage where he intends on writing a follow-up to his successful first novel. He’s passionate about getting the book done and advancing his career, but then...things begin to happen. Irritating things, bothersome things. The cat disappears. They start seeing figures at twilight out on the hill near an old stone circle once used by the Druids. There are poachers in the area, too, and Peter begins to believe some community members are prejudiced against the English. The bottom line is this, someone or something is lurking out there in shadows, always watching, sometimes killing animals, and Peter and you won’t know who or what that someone or something is until the very last page. But to reach that defining moment Guy N. Smith puts you through some truly harrowing anxiety attacks. Track this one down any way you can. It’s worth a read, and the spiral of terror that Peter Fogg experiences is certain to keep you awake deep into the night.


Monday, March 26, 2018

The Black Fedora by Guy N. Smith


Published in England by Sphere in 1991, The Black Fedora is a solid, eerie thriller with the usual doses of mayhem, suspense and doomed characters that long-time fans of Guy N. Smith have come to expect. That Guy has created so many novels of this high caliber is a testament to his hard work and passion for storytelling. I’m rather fond of The Black Fedora. It all begins during Festival Week in Litchfield when the man in the black fedora appears. Smith wastes no time and throws out a first sentence that drives the action: “The man in the black fedora joined the peace convoy five miles east of Salisbury Plain.” The Black Fedora differs from Smith’s horror novels because it’s more of an international thriller, with the supernatural elements replaced with intrigue, unscrupulous characters, and police procedurals. The man in the black fedora shows up during an annual hippie festival that coincides with the arrival of the Polish Premier Kosminski, whose murderous reputation precedes him. The police are attuned to a potential assassination attempt, which they are obligated to prevent. Meanwhile, one of the hippie leaders, himself a scurvy bastard, is suspicious of the man wearing the black fedora. His name is Haggard, but who is he really? Smith tracks multiple characters, few of whom are likeable, and eventually one of the hippie girls, Penny, looks in Haggard’s valise to discover he has a gun. Penny’s boyfriend, Benjamin, has a cruel streak, which causes her constant anguish. To complicate matters, she feels herself strangely attracted to the man in the black fedora. There are intimations that the Antichrist has arrived as well, and the suspense builds to a satisfactory resolution. I believe The Black Fedora is sometimes mistaken for a traditional horror novel, and while there are horrific elements, this book is really a straight thriller. Recommended.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tobacco Culture by Guy N. Smith


My favorite line in Tobacco Culture occurs on page 3: “I grew my first tobacco in 1960, and smoked it out of sheer obstinacy.” This Do-It-Yourself guide to growing, preparing, harvesting and finally smoking the tobacco plant is the best practical guide I have encountered on this subject. As I expected, Guy doesn’t simply describe the process in detail, but he also offers a historical background summary on tobacco and pipe smoking. There are also included useful facts concerning rolling cigarettes or cigars, the proper equipment for same, and a bit about snuff.  Guy’s non-fiction titles are equally as respected as his fiction thrillers, and titles such as Tobacco Culture can be ordered from his website. I much prefer pipe smoking over cigarettes or cigars, and forever will pipe smoke offer a nostalgic memory of my uncle who maintained a well-worm pipe clenched between his teeth, the blue smoke curling into balloons above his head. There is a great deal of planning involved in tobacco growing, and Smith covers the topic based upon his first-hand experience. Complemented by illustrations and photographs, those smokers exploring the realm of digital information, and who happen upon this post, are encouraged to seek out this volume. Smith is obviously a lifelong pipe smoker and won the British Pipe Smoking Championship in 2003. The BBC reported that he beat 30 other smokers after keeping three grams lit for 1 hour, 30 minutes and 31 seconds. The popular event was organized by the John Holingsworth Pipe Club, and each contestant was provided one pipe and three grams of tobacco and two minutes to prepare. An umpire at each table checked the contestants for smoke and eliminated those contestants’ whose pipe eventually failed to produce. Smith was awarded an expensive handmade pipe for his victory.



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nightmares from the Black Hill by Guy N. Smith


This 2017 compilation of short stories is a treasure trove for all of us Guy Smith fans. Collecting 18 tales originally published between 1972 and 1982 in the London Mystery Selection magazine, these tales all demonstrate Smith’s mastery of the short form. Spanning a few pages each, the stories pack a jaw-breaking wallop and are thick with stark images, plot twists, pure horror, tingling suspense, and other ingredients that make this a cauldron of Witching Hour delights. This is a book you might consider reading on Halloween night, with the door locked and the windows shuttered. Try and finish it before the clock strikes midnight! This book is a showcase for Smith’s talent; the quality of his prose is evident in each paragraph, a fact that is lost on critics who foolishly dismiss Smith as simply a writer of horror novels. Think of these as “Tall Tales” told swiftly, with fresh, lively prose and unforgettable characters, Guy N. Smith’s blazing, prolific talent fairly jumps off the page. This is my favorite of the author’s compilations, and includes such stand-out tales as “The Mummy,” “Morpheus Inferno,” “It,” (before Stephen King used that title), “Island of the Zombies,” and “Murder House.” Stories like “The Splodge,” and “Borrowed Time” will keep you awake at night. Creepy, solidly written by a craftsman, and evoking a midnight mood on the fog-shrouded hills near his home in Shropshire, Nightmares from the Black Hill is a reader’s choice for fans of entertaining fiction. Not to be missed!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Night of the Werewolf by Guy N. Smith


Originally published as a German translation as Der Ruf des Werwolfs in 1976, the English language version was finally published in 2012 by Black Hill Books. Smith had been approached for a commissioned novel for Erich Pabel’s “Vampir Horror Roman” series of German books. Night of the Werewolf is a stand-alone werewolf novel and not connected to Smith’s werewolf trilogy, Werewolf by Moonlight, Return of the Werewolf and The Son of the Werewolf. All of these books are recommended. Night of the Werewolf is a spooktacular entertainment, abundant with thrills and a worthy addition to lycanthropic legends and lore. For the connoisseur of Smith’s fiction, this early novel establishes the formulae Smith would use to great effect in his subsequent best-selling novels, and his prose is every bit as sharp then as it is now – sharp as a werewolf’s claws. Written at the same time that Smith wrote Werewolf by Moonlight and Return of the Werewolf, it follows the same basic format. The character of Odell is very much like Gordon Hall the werewolf hunter from the English language trilogy. The werewolf himself is a vile man named Angus Broon, and his dual life as a lycanthrope is no secret. Odell’s job is to stop him. Armed with a sturdy shotgun and silver ammo, Odell is ready to tackle the greatest threat to humanity. But Angus Broon is a canny and violent adversary who will stop at nothing to satiate his blood lust, all while plotting to turn Ingrid Hamilton into a she-wolf bride of a werewolf and part of the undead. Her husband Ron pairs up with Odell and they race against time to stop Broon before Ingrid becomes a blood-drenched slave and victim. At times quite gory, Night of the Werewolf is a throwback gem of pulp horror, dripping with mood and fast-paced. Hunt this one down and read it when the moon is full!


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Midland Gun Company: A Short History by Guy N. Smith


This excellent book is a must have for both gun enthusiasts and historians. Guy N. Smith has stated point blank this book was a labor of love, an especially important fact considering there was scant historical material available about Midland guns. Guy has pieced it all together, done the digging, added in a dash of memoir, and I guarantee you gun owners like myself will henceforth keep an eye open for a Midland gun. He covers the known history, the models and variations, cartridges, hammerless and single-shot, and many other aspects of these guns. His subject is primarily shotguns, but Smith details Midland’s other endeavors as well. The book is profusely illustrated, and the photos includes historical documents and the guns themselves. Utilizing the same hardback format as Smith’s Managing & Shooting Under Ten Acres (which is also recommended), the overall design is superb. Kudos to the Black Hill Books design and production team for their outstanding effort in producing the very best quality books. While I do own over thirty firearms, I don’t own any Midland guns, but now that I’ve read this book it’s not beyond my scope to search one out. Being located in the United States might make this endeavor a tad more difficult, but time will tell. Midland Gun Company: A Short History is another feather in Guy’s cap, and a worthy addition to his growing list of non-fiction volumes of shooting and countryside related books.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Spawn of the Slime Beast by Guy N. Smith


This 2015 novel is a new classic from the legendary Guy Smith and available from Guy’s website. A sequel to his 1975 fight-fest, The Slime Beast, he wastes no time developing the characters and getting to the action. Picking up with some of the surviving previous characters, Gavin and Liz Royle, accompanied by their daughter and her snotty boyfriend, are preparing a holiday away when they swiftly learn that the Slime Beast is back. That, of course, seems impossible given that they burned the creature to a dripping slag years before. With his family in danger, Gavin needs to work fast to not only determine the origins of this frightful creature, but to destroy it yet again. The story gallops along at a rousing pace and I found myself flipping the pages with anxious anticipation. Smith adds some characteristic flourishes, including references to the Crabs stories, a detail or two about cartridges, and some hunters who came to a grisly end. Some of the supplemental characters find themselves being eaten by the Slime Beast. I think one of the reasons this creature is so popular is that we don’t often get treated to a monster in the classic mode. This is a creature that walks on two legs like a man, hungers for human flesh, and is a purely malevolent being. The Slime Beast is like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and some alien monster all in one. We are provided with a plausible origin of the Slime Beast, but no matter whence it came, the beast is still deadly. Smith appears to have so much fun writing about this monster that I won’t be surprised if a third book comes along. I sure hope so! I read this one on a cold February winter evening around midnight with the wind howling outside my window. Fantastic!

CLICK HERE to visit Guy N. Smith’s WEBSITE!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Minister Geese by Jonathan Guy


Jonathan Guy is a pseudonym for Guy N. Smith and The Minister Geese is a book for younger readers. The Minister Geese is another example of Guy’s versatile talent which I hold in the highest regard. This is a story about Karn, a Canada goose, Ski, a greyleg, and Cho, the Chinese goose. Captured, and with their wings broken, they can no longer fly. The become residents of a farmer’s wildfowl pond. Here they might have lived out their lives, until they are suddenly transferred to a new home, a pool in the shadow of a magnificent cathedral. They soon discover that the Minister Pool is not a safe haven, and new dangers lurk constantly. The Minister Geese is several things at once; first, it’s an excellent novel for young readers, although readers of any age will enjoy it; secondly, it demonstrates yet again Guy N. Smith’s talent as a natural born storyteller. His countryside lifestyle, in-depth experience, and sportsman’s activities all contributed to this enjoyable tale. I was swept up in the plight of the geese, and readers won’t be disappointed as they breeze through the chapters. Smith’s writing always possessed a certain style and grace, which is all the more apparent in his descriptive passages. His eye for detail, his understanding of the human condition, all combined here to create a sympathetic portrait of these geese, all handled with an endearing flourish. The Minister Geese commands your attention, and here is a book deserving of accolades. Of recent vintage, this 2012 novel is now a favorite, and I have procured an extra copy for my granddaughter. Highly recommended!

CLICK HERE to visit Guy N. Smith’s WEBSITE!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Pony Riders by Guy N. Smith

Published in 1997 by Pinnacle, The Pony Riders is (as of today) Guy N. Smith’s only Western. It is also one of his longest books. It is also a breathtaking, action-packed masterpiece of genre writing, and one of my favorite Westerns. I own two copies. The Pony Riders is available for Kindle along with many of his titles. Young Ben Hollister becomes a Pony Express rider after seeing his parents killed by Indians and his sister abducted. His legend begins quickly and the Indians call him “Slayer Who Rides With the Wind.” Working for Joseph Slade, a killer, becomes a challenge made all the more difficult as he works toward a showdown he’s destined to have with the mysterious Paiute called Blood Arrow. Hollister’s relationship with Slade is central to the novel’s plot. Hollister doesn’t necessarily approve of Slade’s brutal methods, but he’s effective at what he does, and somehow Slade manages to stay alive, often against impossible odds. Hollister recognizes that he’s becoming a lot like Slade, whom the Indian’s call “The Man Who Likes Killing.” So it is that “Slayer Who Rides With the Wind” and “The Man Who Likes Killing” become legendary. The backstory of locating his long lost sister doesn’t really come into focus until later in the novel, after Hollister falls in love and marries a saloon girl named Mollie. Skilled in the ways of love, she teaches Hollister a thing or two and proves to be a positive influence. There’s gunplay aplenty, wild horse chases, scalping, ambushes, and one devious character after another. The paperback clocks in at 380 pages, which is normal by today’s standards but long for Smith. As I mentioned, one of my favorites, and a real treat for not only fans of Westerns, but for Guy N. Smith’s fans in general. The Pony Riders is well known among Smith’s fans. The book sold well upon publication and leads me to wonder why Pinnacle didn’t ask for more Westerns from him. This is one where I tell people, if you encounter a copy of this paperback then buy it. They are not as common as you think, and it’s a great book. Guy N. Smith’s diverse talent includes this Western, the many horror novels, and contemporary thrillers like The Black Fedora and The Eighth Day. His books on the countryside life of shooting and gamekeeping are just the tip of the iceberg. 



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Carnage by Guy N. Smith


A recent thriller from 2016, Carnage is pure Guy N. Smith and a great one to read any time of the year. While there are no supernatural elements, Smith takes a simple premise and shows what a maestro can do with it. In Carnage, a family that kept two baboons as pets are forced to release them into the wild, which at the time seemed like a humane thing to do. Certainly, the baboons would be better off in the Welsh wilderness than in some zoo. Forty years, later, however, it’s discovered those baboons not only survived, but bred, and now there’s a small group of hungry baboons on the loose that soon acquire a taste for flesh. The violence escalates quickly, and Smith makes baboons suddenly very scary creatures. In fact, baboons rarely attack humans but there are documented instances of this happening, which makes the book all the more frightening. This could happen, and humans are no match for hungry, flesh-eating baboons. The formulae here is about the same as Night of the Crabs and The Slime Beast, and Smith proves that he hasn’t lost his touch. A nifty, tight thriller, Carnage is the perfect book to take with you on vacation, especially if your visiting some remote wilderness region. And remember to bring along a gun, because even if you lock the cabin door, it won’t stop a flesh eating baboon.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hangman’s Hotel and Other Stories by Guy N. Smith


I ordered my copy direct from Guy’s website. Black Hill Books is now his official publisher, operating right out of Shropshire itself, and within walking distance of Guy’s desk. My copy was autographed. This 2014 compilation includes fourteen short pieces of fiction guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine. The title story alone is worth the price of admission, as they say; a swift short tale about a ruthless judge who had sentenced many criminals to hang. Then, years later, when the jail and execution site had been sold off and converted to a deluxe hotel, the mean-spirited old judge spends the night in the hotel only to discover that he couldn’t escape the past after all. All of the stories are short-shorts and easy to read, but that doesn’t stop Smith from laying on his usual mayhem. The other stories include a brutal short called “The Black Druid,” and a crab’s tale, “The Survivor,” along with “Savage Safari,” “Zombie Gunfighter,” “Dead on Cue,” “Devil of the Dark Forest,” “The Witch of Warsaw,” “Death in the Snow,” “The Beast in the Mist,” “The House in the Wood,” “Winged Evil,” “Poacher’s Curse,” and “Dwellers of the Dark.” Several of these tales originally appeared in The Countryman’s Weekly. This collection is a real treat for Guy’s fans, and in addition to the crabs short, one story features his psychic detective, Sabat. The only problem readers might have with this collection is that you’ll be left wanting more of Guy N. Smith’s unique blend of Hammer Films style terror and gothic ghost tales. That problem is easily solved by visiting Guy’s website and ordering some books.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Accursed by Guy N. Smith


Of all of the authors that write so-called scary books, Guy N. Smith is the undisputed leader of the pack. He is a master at building psychological terror, and his plots are fast-paced if not unrelenting. His characters run a gauntlet of mayhem and destruction. The nights are haunted and occupied with monsters we can sometimes see, and at other times they are monsters that take possession of our minds. Fighting these demons is nearly impossible. With Accursed from New English Library in 1983, Smith provides a variation on the Mummy’s curse with a paperback thriller that is guaranteed to send a razor sharp chill down your spine. It all starts when archeologist Mason returns to the United Kingdom with two mummies. After a while, they begin to stink so he buries them in his garden. Getting them out of that Egyptian tomb had been a harrowing experience anyway, and something wasn’t quite right about the excavation anyway. Set, the Egyptian god of Chaos and death and destruction, is a little angry at Dalukah and Aba-aner, the two Egyptians that were slain all those centuries earlier and whose bodies are now resting – but not at rest – in an English garden. Years after Mason passes on, his home is owned by George and Emily Brownlow, and George is suddenly possessed by the idea that he needs to dig up his garden and build an Air Raid shelter because he’s convinced End of Days is about to happen. In a Guy N. Smith novel, you’ve buggered yourself when when you start listening to the voices in your head. The mounting dread is enhanced by the details of a suburbanite’s life gone terribly wrong. Accursed is a masterful portrait of terror.



Saturday, March 10, 2018

Bloodshow by Guy N. Smith


This 1987 classic is a virtuoso piece of writing for Smith, and another of my personal favorites. The premise is irresistible - An old castle in the Scottish Highlands is targeted as a resort with a fancy new hotel nearby and sideshow attractions with a carnival atmosphere to attract the tourists. With the inclusion of plastic dummy vampires, a werewolf and other creepy sights, newlyweds Eric and Kim Armstrong have arrived to enjoy themselves and see the sights. Their bliss is short lived as they soon realize the castle really is haunted, and beyond the carnival attractions and electrical gimmicks there thrives a truly evil presence, the Laird of Benahee himself. Visitors begin dying in horrible ways, and while the local policeman is trying to convince himself it’s either a series of unfortunate accidents or murder, others fall victim to the Laird’s vengeance. By the time you reach chapter 13, appropriately enough, the mounting terror and overwhelming evil have taken command. Smith’s stories are all character driven thrillers, and his talent in creating fully realized characters is on display throughout Bloodshow. Naturally, many of these characters get what they deserve, and their gruesome fates are all the result of angering the wrong ghostly spirit. Bloodshow is a travel guide to terror and mayhem, and should swiftly earn a place on your bookshelf or Kindle. I own both the paperback and the e-book edition.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Crabs Omnibus by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 8

I might be accused of being a crabby cultist, or a crab cult member or just a cult crabber. Either way, I’m a happy fan of Guy N. Smith’s legendary crab’s horror novels. Yeah, crabs. I’m hoping by now many of you have ordered books direct from Guy’s website. The thing about the crabs is this – they hate humans, and they are intelligent enough to plan attacks on coastal towns. They are extremely difficult to kill, and once you make them angry they won’t forget you. Did I mention these are giant crabs? Reading a crab’s novel is the prose equivalent of a drive-in movie horror fest in Technicolor which means the blood and sunsets are all red. Red is the color a killer crab wants to see as its pinchers rip your body apart. Crabs Omnibus is a 2015 collection from Black Hill Books. The collection starts out with a novelette, “Crustacean Carnage,” followed by the shorts, “Decoy,” “Revenge,” “The Vigil,” “The Survivor,” “Crabs Armada,” and “The Final Encounter.” These shorts work quite well no matter their length. Smith dives right in and the crabs are feeding again. My favorite here is “Revenge” which ties up loose ends from Killer Crabs and offers a final fate for Klin, the masculine Australian outdoorsmen who still believes that stolen money is buried in the sand near his old place. (see Killer Crabs for the details). This is the eighth crabs book by Smith and I have a gnawing suspicion we haven’t seen the last of the crabs. Meanwhile, rather than go out to dinner at the local Red Lobster Restaurant, why not log onto Guy’s website and order one of his books. Smith’s crab’s books are an acquired taste, but once you savor that tender meat, you’ll be hooked on a crustacean diet.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Killer Crabs: The Return by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 7

Almost twenty-four years had passed since we last heard of those devious, flesh-eating human hating crabs. Meanwhile, back at Black Hill, Guy N. Smith had been busy writing some amazing books. Great stuff like The Pony Riders, The Black Fedora, Bamboo Guerillas, The Lurkers, Mania, and so many others. Some of these I’ve covered on this blog, and I’ll cover many others in the future. But we all knew those crabs would be back. We’ve been waiting, and then suddenly Smith delivers. Killer Crabs: The Return is a worthy addition to the crab’s saga, and well worth the wait. A true sequel to Killer Crabs, Cliff Davenport returns to face-off against the crabs yet again. Also present is Brock Logan, the son of Harvey Logan who was eaten in Killer Crabs. Brock wants revenge for his father’s murder, and being a skilled big game hunter he has the weapons and nerves to make that happen. Brock meets a shapely lass named Karen who elicits a tell-tale erection, and everything is in place for a crab’s showdown. Smith doesn’t change his successful formulae, although there are some surprises, namely in who survives and who doesn’t this time. Killer Crabs: The Return is short, really a novelette. Cliff Davenport is a realist when he wonders if there is some Queen Crab out there, spawning “another batch of monsters.” Smith always leaves open the possibility for another full-scale rampaging return.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Crabs: The Human Sacrifice by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 6

According to his autobiography, Pipe Dreams, Smith believes Crabs: The Human Sacrifice is the harder book to find because of a low print run. That is undoubtedly true, although copies do show up on e-bay. Copies are certainly not as common as some of the other titles, so if you see a copy be sure to buy it. Crabs: The Human Sacrifice takes place during the same time-frame as Crabs on the Rampage. It is a separate story taking place during the same period when the crab’s population is dying of cancer and intent on lashing out at humans before they go. This one involves a macabre cult of crab worshippers and human sacrifice, which lends another level of eeriness to the proceedings. Smith’s acclaimed imagination is like a hot iron as he weaves a plot with multiple characters and those malevolent crabs and their fiery red eyes and appetite for human flesh. As you would expect, the crabs will disembowel people, snip their legs off with those razor sharp pinchers, and slurp up the flesh and bones like a starving fat man at a banquet. Imagine having your arms and legs snipped off, and before you bleed out you stare into the beady, evil eyes of a giant crab that is intelligent, and had intentionally hunted you down! This book combines several elements and passages from Crabs on the Rampage which makes it seem a little disjointed, with a hybrid feel, but entertaining nonetheless. This 1988 entry in the series would be the last for some time, but Smith wasn’t quite done yet.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Crabs’ Moon by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 5

After Crabs on the Rampage, Guy N. Smith was a tad tired of writing the crabs series, according to his own admission in his autobiography. Crabs on the Rampage was intended to be the last book, but perhaps Guy knew he couldn’t really escape the crabs. There was always room for a sequel. Crabs’ Moon followed in 1984. By now Smith had written some classic horror thrillers, The Slime Beast, The Wood, Dead End, Satan’s Snowdrop, Bloodshow and many more. He was prolific and he has a following to this day of ardent fans, myself included. Crabs’ Moon is vintage pulp horror. Smith follows the same formulae he employed for the previous four books, and starts out with bang-up action and thriller sequence. He introduces characters that are fully developed, and then does the unthinkable by having them eaten by the giant crabs. There’s a little sex, lots of gore, incredible suspense, and good and evil characters alike that find themselves victims of the malevolent crabs. Smith’s descriptive powers are on full display, and Crabs’ Moon is another rousing success. I give Smith credit for possessing an absolutely fantastic imagination. Cliff Davenport from book 1 makes another brief appearance. In all of the crab’s books there are appearances or references to characters from all of the stories. Smith has done a fine job of creating a cast of characters that are memorable, even if most of them do become breakfast for the hungry crabs.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Crabs on the Rampage by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 4

This one takes off swiftly, sets the grim mood, and before you can blink the giant crabs have eaten another human. It’s important to remember that these crabs are intelligent. In fact, they are the embodiment of pure evil, and they hate humans. The crabs are relentless in their attacks, skilled in tactical evaluation, and preparing to use their pinchers to rip your limbs from your body, disembowel you, and eat you. “A game, enjoying his suffering, savoring the sumptuous feast, the melee in which human flesh and bones would be torn asunder. (p.38)” Cliff Davenport from book 1 is called back into service by the military who have long been stumped on how to end the crab attacks once and for all. Smith is at the height of his descriptive powers, and the breathless pace is accentuated by his pulp prose: “And the night air was filled with rapid clicking sounds as though the fallen suspension bridge had been a guillotine and a hundred filthy old hags knitted furiously beneath and grinned evilly at the severed heads and blood. (p.22)” Davenport discovers the crab population has cancer, and before the species dies out they’re intent on revenge. They are going to kill and eat as many humans as they can, destroy whatever is in their way, and go out in a bloody blaze of glory. And a rampage it is, from page one until the conclusion, where the Australian Klin from Book 2 makes a brief appearance. Of course, when you’re finished reading this thrilling masterwork you’ll already know, at least instinctively, the crabs will be back. Crabs on the Rampage is an immensely popular entry in the crab’s saga. Forget Jaws by Peter Benchley. After reading this one I guarantee you won’t go anywhere near the ocean.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Origin of the Crabs by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 3

Don’t let the title fool you. This book is less of an origin story and more of a continuation of the crab’s storyline that began with Night of the Crabs followed by Killer Crabs. Smith may have felt it necessary to offer some type of origin of these giant crustaceans, which is quite simply stated in a sentence or two. The Russians had conducted some underwater nuclear testing that obviously resulted in a crab’s mutation. Smith doesn’t waste any more time with the origin than that, and that’s fine by me. He jumps right into a story about the Welsh gamekeeper, Bruce McKechnie, a devious bastard and the first to discover the crabs prior to the events described in Night of the Crabs. As the laird of Crenlarich near Loch Merse, his income is accentuated by the hunting he leases on his property. Loch Merse apparently has an underwater tributary that leads to the sea, and when the crabs show up McKechnie is determined to keep their existence a secret in order to avoid a panic that would nullify his business opportunities. Well, when one person too many goes missing (eaten by the giant crabs, of course), McKechnie has his hands full as people disappear and the crabs increase their attacks. Make no mistake about this – the crabs are intelligent, malevolent, and hate humans except to eat them. Their pinchers will rip you apart. There’s a saucy woman named Christine Blacklaw, who jumps from McKechnie’s bed to the bed of John Ryland who is looking for his missing brother. He won’t find him because the crabs ate him. Fog shrouded woodlands, a mysterious bog, the waters of Loch Merse and some calculating, evil giant crabs all make for a gorefest of fiendish terror. Dripping with some bloody atmosphere, The Origin of the Crabs is classic Guy N. Smith all the way. There is a brief appearance by the Australian, Klin, from Killer Crabs. Smith is consistent in keeping track of his characters.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Killer Crabs by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 2

This 1978 novel is a sequel to Smith’s best-selling Night of the Crabs and one of my favorites in the series. The writing is compact, the plot tightly-weaved, and the characters, their actions and the imagery as sharp as a photograph. I consider Killer Crabs not only one of the best crabs novels, but among Guy N. Smith’s classic horror stories. By the way, I recommend reading the crabs novels in chronological order. Characters reoccur in each novel, especially Chris Davenport, the protagonist in Night of the Crabs. Killer Crabs introduces an Australian named Klin, a tall muscular, athletic Aussie with thick black hair and an appetite for voluptuous women. Klin is one of my favorite Smith characters, and his appearance here is a delight. Not only does he go toe to toe with those murderous crabs, but he indulges his manhood with a vixen named Caroline du Brunner who can’t get enough of his thrusting desires. Fortunately, Klin knows his way around a women’s body and gives Caroline what she’s looking for. Meanwhile, the killer crabs are back and Klin joins forces with Chris Davenport from the first book as they try to stop the crab attacks. The attacks themselves are conducted on a grand scale this time out, and once again the military is stymied by their inability to pierce the crab’s shell. Bullets and artillery have little effect on these giant crustaceans, and the crab attack on a seaside town and the hotel where Caroline enjoys her trysts is a virtuoso piece of pulp fiction action. With Killer Crabs, Guy N. Smith has perfected his formulae, and readers will not soon forget the evil red look of hatred in the beady eyes of those giant crabs. 


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Night of the Crabs by Guy N. Smith


Crabs Cult Classic Book 1

This is the book that made Guy N. Smith’s career in 1976. An instant best-seller, Night of the Crabs is available again from Black Hill Books, Guy’s personal imprint. I have read this book several times, and I describe it precisely the same way each time I talk about it - Night of the Crabs is spine-chilling pulp fiction. This book will keep you awake at night, give you nightmares, and entertain the hell out of you. It’s all about these giant crustaceans that crawl out of the sea and begin eating people. Note that I said “giant crustaceans.” That’s right, kiddos, giant crabs. I wish Ray Harryhausen had made a film based on this book. This is the prose version of a drive-in movie B-feature where the monsters are giants and they’re hungry. There are now seven sequels published and they are all as good as this first one. Smith’s crab novels have a cult following and I guess that makes me a Crab Cultist. I cannot eat crab legs or even lobster without thinking about this book. Next time your dipping your crab legs into a dish of warm butter, think about that crab growing to the size of a truck and eating you, those pinchers ripping your flesh apart. Go ahead, dip that crab leg in butter. Cliff Davenport is the protagonist, and he is determined to uncover the mystery of the giant crabs. Time is running out, because the crabs have come ashore and are now staging attacks on coastal towns. They are becoming bolder, and people are dying. Lead by the crab Davenport refers to as “King Crab,” the military soon learn that artillery shells are useless against the crab’s mutated exterior.  Cliff Davenport will play a role in several of the sequels. Night of the Crabs is not a long novel, and it’s a fast read. The current edition from Black Hill Books reproduces the classic cover. Smith’s tale about these monstrous crustaceans is a pulp paperback fan’s preferred delight.


COMPLETE CRABS TITLE LIST:

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)
Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs’ Moon (1984)
Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988)
Killer Crabs: The Return (2012)
Crabs Omnibus (shorts collection, 2015)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Question & Answer Pipe Smoking Moment with Guy N. Smith


Legendary author Guy N. Smith took time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions, and offer a sneak peek at what he’s working on now. Pull up a comfortable chair, tamp some tobacco into your pipe and lite it, and sit back and enjoy!

TM: Can you tell me what books you read as a child that inspired you? And do you have any favorite authors that you follow today?

GNS: As a child I read Enid Blyton extensively and W.E. Johns (Biggles). I also took 14 boys' papers/comics every week paid for out of my gardening money.  I had a regular round of 4 local gardens to maintain. My favourite authors from my teenage years onwards were Leslie Charteris (The Saint), Sapper (Bulldog Drummond), Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), John Buchan and westerns by Zane Grey and Oliver Strange (Sudden).  I have a collection of several thousand vintage books in both genres and often re-read some of my favourites.

TM: I consider The Pony Riders a masterpiece. It’s also a long book, perhaps your longest. Have you thought about writing another Western?

GNS: I am considering another western.  However, this year sees The Reaper, a novel about a feared master criminal who is also a disciple of Satan and, coinciding with my Fan Club Convention (September 2nd), the long promised Sabat 5.  This is set in Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor, the most haunted wood in the UK.  Christmas will see a history of shotgun cartridges over the past century.  Collecting these is a fast growing hobby in both the UK and USA.

TM: The two Jason Ford books and the two John Mayo books are really contemporary thrillers. Is this type of police procedural and thriller something we can look forward to in the future?

GNS: Yes. The Reaper drops into this category.

TM: The Wood is among my all-time favorite horror novels. Do you have a favorite among your horror novels?

GNS: I guess my favourite is The Slime Beast set on the Wash where I used to go wildfowling in the 1960s which gave me the idea for the book.

TM: Recently you’ve published sequels to some of your previous novels - Killer Crabs: The Return and Spawn of the Slime Beast. Do you have any other sequel surprises lined up for us?

GNS: Sabat 5 as already mentioned.  Currently I am awaiting the film script of The Slime Beast.  There is also some interest in Killer Crabs but I cannot reveal more on this at present. 

TM: How many hours in a week do you spend writing, and do you have any general advice to any young writers that will read this?

GNS: I generally write in the mornings, 2-3 hours.  I write by hand as I have always done and have no intention of changing to a keyboard.  I find handwriting much faster and easier.  Regarding advice to young writers:  spend time on a detailed synopsis then think hard and long about the plot and characters.  Writing the book will be much easier this way and any changes will come naturally.

TM: I read on your website that your house at Black Hill is haunted. Can you tell me a little about that?

GNS: Yes, my house is haunted - by my mother who lived here for the last 2 1/2 years of her life.  I have seen her personally as did our grandson at the age of 5 who stayed here and slept in her room.  He had never seen her but he described her to perfection.  She is still active - very annoying, things disappear and then turn up days, weeks later!

TM: The history of the druids plays a role in several of your novels. That’s wonderful, rich material. How much research do you do when you’re writing?

GNS: I do a lot of research, on-going not just when I am considering a novel.  I make notes of various observations and ideas for future use.  Then often an idea occurs to me and I have them at hand for reference.  There are ideas all around us.

TM: A bog plays a role in The Sucking Pit, one of your most popular novels. Do some of these ideas stem from your active countryside lifestyle? You must have encountered a spooky bog a time or two.

GNS: The Sucking Pit is a strong favourite of mine.  When I was aged about 6 my grandfather used to take me for Sunday afternoon walks in Hopwas Wood.  This was just after World War II and a German bomb intended for a nearby railway line missed its target, landed in the wood and the result was this huge crater which filled with water and algae.  Fearing that I might at some stage go there on my own and drown, my Grandpa told me that horrible creatures lurked below the surface.  It was all very scary and resulted in the book years later.  Fairly recently I revisited the site and found that the crater had filled in over the years and did not exist any longer.  However, it was a good plot for the book.

TM: Thank you for taking time to answer these questions!

GNS: I am most grateful to my many fans.  Any who wish to get in touch with me are welcome to do so.  Everybody receives a personal reply from myself.  Nobody is ever ignored.