Leroy Kettle), a prolific Australian author who also wrote nonfiction genre studies. A fleet-footed, old-fashioned thriller with plenty of gore, in the tradition of James Herbert, Carnosaur (Star Books, June 1984 UK/Bart Books, Feb 1989 US) is as solid a trashy paperback horror novel as one could want. Knight ticks all the boxes and doesn't muck about with the unnecessaries. This is pulp horror done right: mean, nasty, brutish, and short. Sometimes every character is so glum and rude you kinda think, Jeez, doesn't anyone have a nice polite word to say? Everyone's all Johnny Rotten all the time. Kill the lot of 'em. Unpleasant, ungrateful, folk fodder for the dinosaur. Right... now.
Sir Penward" throughout the novel) is Warchester's wealthy eccentric, the big-game hunter with his own personal zoo on his vast estate, filled with exotic and dangerous animals—including his ravenous nympho wife, Lady Jane. But again, you're reading a book called Carnosaur, and you know that Warchester will soon be under siege by animals much more exotic and dangerous than *yawn* tigers and panthers. The police begin their investigation, and "Sir Penward" blames the attacks on an escaped Siberian tiger. Pascal suspects a cover-up, and along with a reluctant Jenny, begins some investigation of his own. This leads him into the clutches of Lady Jane (aka Lady Fang, and looking "like something out of The Story of O"), well-known amongst the locals for her penchant of seducing younger men while her husband tends to his menagerie. Pascal realizes he can use her to get inside the zoo to peek around. That can't be a bad idea, can it?
Okay, okay, I'm getting to it: the "carno" part of the title. Well, gentle reader, you won't be disappointed. The residents of Warchester—the ones still alive—woke up to a world that was vastly different to the one they'd gone to sleep in. Brosnan serves up the grue that satisfies. Behold: Tarbosaurus, a T. Rex in everything but name, wreaks delightful havoc wherever it goes; Deinonychus, with its scythe-clawed foot that it uses like a prehistoric exponent of Kung-Fu, guts hapless farmers and other locals from neck to groin; and a plesiosaur joins a boating party that none of the invitees will soon forget: After a long, stunned silence a man's voice said, with an edge of hysteria to it, "Well, you've got to say one thing for good old Dickie; he sure throws a hell of a party..." Brosnan doesn't quite take it to ridiculous Dinosaurs Attack! levels, but pulp fans should still have plenty to chew on. Sex, violence, nerdy dino facts: Carnosaur has it all.
Above I mentioned Jurassic Park, and I can't leave this review without mentioning that Carnosaur features many facets that would become famous, indeed iconic, when Spielberg adapted Crichton's 1990 bestseller: chase scenes, close calls, and especially the scientific basis of resurrecting dinos are all first seen in this novel (itself adapted into a post-JP cheapie by Roger Corman). While I've never had much interest in Crichton's fiction, after reading this I feel I need to see if Crichton really did read a book called Carnosaur... or if it's simply a case of a great idea whose time had, like the dinosaurs, come again.