Thursday, February 25, 2016
Campbell Armstrong was a Scottish author who died in 2013 and wrote many thriller/horror novels under a handful of pseudonyms. These paperback covers from publishers in the US and the UK are nicely indicative of that '80s era...
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
For a scant few moments in the early chapters I thought there might be a chance I'd like Devil's Cat, as Johnstone builds a foursquare story of satanic worship in swampy Louisiana. I politely tried to ignore its robotic dialogue, its slavish imitation of 'Salem's Lot, its retrograde metaphysics (a simple-minded God vs. the Devil scenario drawn from what I can only guess were other shitty horror novels and movies and maybe a Geraldo Rivera TV special on "satanic" heavy metal bands) and enjoy it as a bit of sleazy '80s pulp horror. Check the set-up:
Johnstone affects a solemn pomposity in his declarative, single-sentence paragraphs, obviously meant to add gravitas to the proceedings; of course it all topples under the strain of his complete inability to write dialogue or character and his regrettable mastery of the cliche. He throws in everything: Satan, zombies, witches, werewolves (or werecats), etc. as well as the ending-that's-not-an-ending. None of Devil's Cat is fun or exciting or scary or creepy or interesting, and if a writer can't make his story any of those things—regardless of the quality of prose—I can't in good conscience recommend it. The Devil's Cat is idiocy itself, terrible garbage horror fiction pure and simple. Let us not cross paths again.
You paid money for this book? Satan laughs at you