Post by dreadlocksmile on Jun 20, 2009 14:26:48 GMT
First published back in 1988, `Crabs: The Human Sacrifice' later became somewhat of a scarce rarity for Guy N Smith's signature `Crabs' series. This instalment forms the sixth full length addition into the ever popular series.
Like within Smith's 1984 novel `Crabs' Moon', Smith has once again inserted a quick passage to explain exactly where this next instalment falls within the complex chronology of the crabs series. Smith's opening statement is as follows:
"Whilst the giant crabs were slowly dying from cancer, as told in Crabs on the Rampage, a massive battle was still to be fought on the east coast where the crustaceans were to make one final attempt to overthrow Mankind. This is the story of that final battle set against the background of a macabre cult of crab-worshippers and human sacrifice - GNS".
So the scene is set, its place within the crabs saga established, all that's left is for some gruesome click-click-clickety-click fun...
The tale kicks off in Long Sutton where a group of fanatical animal rights campaigners, led by the psychotic and charismatic leader, Pete Merrick, begin a campaign against those that they deem to show cruelty to animals. The disturbing lengths in which Merrick is pushing his small following of animal rights terrorists has become nothing short of first degree murder.
With poultry corpses awaiting their distribution for the Christmas festivities that are injected with strychnine on Christmas Eve by Merrick and his weak willed girlfriend Christine; to the purposeful beheading of a Major Watterson using some fine wire stretched between two trees, as the Major heads up a fox hunt. Merrick's lust for murder becomes more and more intense, with `animal rights' used as a mere excuse to justify his bloodthirsty actions.
Meanwhile, the crabs are on the move again, as per `Crabs on the Rampage'. Here we see our crustacean friends swarming up the River Nene, about a quarter of a mile below Sutton Bridge. Merrick witnesses a seemingly defenceless dying crab, bombarded by navy firepower as it emerges from the water. A further burning rage builds inside Merrick.
Merrick begins to form the belief that the crabs are divine gods, exacting a revenge on Mankind for delivering the cancer that is slowly eating away at them. Merrick sees a whole new goal now - to help avenge the crabs, he will start delivering human sacrifices to them. And so an array of victims viewed as having a streak of cruelty to animals about them, are left as sacrifices to be devoured by the dying crabs. One of these victims is eighteen year old Susan Delphore, daughter of the wealthy seal skin importer Morland Delphore.
Susan's new boyfriend thirty-two year old and ex-SAS, David Knight, learns of Susan's demise at the hands of Merrick and swears he will take revenge. But even with Merrick's despicable death count rising and his psychotic madness spiralling further and further out of control, Merrick still manages to keep a cunning nature that allows him to evade capture time and time again.
With the crabs mounting their final battle on mankind and Merrick delivering victim after victim to the mutant crustaceans, Knight has to use all his skills and training to bring the sacrificial madness to an end...
In `Crabs: The Human Sacrifice' Smith takes advantage of the popularity towards occultist novels during the late eighties, by incorporating this dark twist to the crabs series. The novel takes on a peculiar edge for a crabs novel, placing more weight towards the terrorist actions of Merrick and his animal rights activists than that of the crabs' final stance. This is indeed a surprising stance to take with a late addition to the crabs series, but does add a certain freshness and new interest value to the instalment.
Packed from cover to cover with splatterpunk gore and non-stop action, this unrelenting pulp horror tale keeps its desperate storyline moving at a mile a minute.
The characterization is carefully constructed, with David Knight depicted as somewhat of a clichéd hero, whereas Pete Merrick is a magnificently delivered psychotic killer with a vivid depth to his complex personality.
As the bloodspill increases, so the novel climbs towards the dramatic conclusion. There are no surprises or clever twists to be had, just a satisfying ending to a thoroughly enjoyable pulp horror novel.
CRABS: THE HUMAN SACRIFICE felt to me like Guy N smith was tired of his most famous creations. Whilst they hover in the background throughout the book - mostly brought into focus when some killing needs doing , it all seems so perfunctory. Instead the clash between the human protagonists takes centre stage against the Wash-y background.
What I liked about the novel was the Crabs being seen as Gods and much more could of been made of this if there had been some apocalyptic backdrop. As it is the creepiest set piece is when a normal size crab on a makeshift altar is dribbled with blood as the psychotic killer and his accomplice go into throes of ecstasy.
I'd recommend this book for diehard Crabs fans only - this one smells of day old seafood.
Read this one just before the festive period. I loved it. And the indeed the crabs do take the backstory as the animal rights activist steals the show with his barbaric deaths he bestows upon the characters ( who in my opinion deserved it ) Peter Merrick is the name of the brute, he and his troubled,terrified and reluctant girlfriend Christine capture and kidnap a host of victims like Wally Orme, who pays for his hobby of duck shooting, they take him out to the marshes and sever his legs below the knee, the plan is for the little crabs to finish him off. But its the big Daddies who soon get in on the act. Brian and Louise soon find that out. The fornicating interupted by the crabs who tear poor Louise in two and feast on her guts. Whilst trying to flee from the yellow pus spewing monsters Brian is held aloft and pulled apart limb from limb like a fly. Brilliant. In fact each chapter has some form of carnage going on. I read it in one sitting ,its that relentless. In fact I may even stick my neck out and say I enjoyed it more than Killer Crabs .
Another thing to note. Is it just me or has this once scarce book become more available now ? At one point it was nowhere. Now they seem to pop up all over .
GNS was coming to the end of his long association with NEL and knocked this out in 20 minutes (OK, maybe took a little longer) simply to keep his then editor happy. To no avail - he was soon to move on to pastures new. Sphere. What could possibly go wrong