You would be forgiven for thinking that a book about killer Alligators isn't going to offer much. I mean the things are pretty much restricted to the water right ? Wrong. This is a Guy N Smith book. I mean the man wrote a book about a patch of stagnant quicksand, called it The Sucking Pit and it became a cult pulp classic.
We begin with a group of animal rights activists releasing the creatures from the local zoo. Twelve alligators in total, this includes a few youngsters. In true 28 Days Later style it all goes tits up and two of the group are killed. The leader and right proper nutcase Maurice escapes unharmed, whilst his girlfriend Suzi Lee ( yep shes oriental ) has fled much to a Maurice's anger. The Aligators , we are told , make a ridiculous journey down the street past the footy ground, along and across the road and eventually find the river. Without being detected. The current heatwave is perfect for them as the waters are just the right temperature.
A guilt stricken Suzi heads to the local vet and spills her heart out to him. On how brutal and evil Maurice used to be with her. And how strong he is to the cause, Pissing in milk vats and making sure no animals are exploited. Rather than tell the police of her actions, Our vet Philip Grant ( who incidently works at the zoo as well ) Offers her a job as his receptionist, and tells her she can live in the flat above with him. You can guess where this is going as its a Smith novel. A page and a half later they are in bed with each other screwing. Brilliant
Although one soldier has killed one of the escaped reptiles, some of the smaller Nippers have decided to lie low in young Daniel Stones Dads pond in the back garden. His Mum doesn't believe his rabbling of the big lizards in the garden and warns him to stay away from the water. He pays the price for not listening to Mum and on a nocturnal visit to the pond where he hopes they will eat the balls of bread he has for them he finds out all to well they require a different source of food. They make do with his face.
More victims follow. Including a poacher who dies trying to use cyanide on the fish. Elwyn Evans discovers the body. A man who we have already heard the plight of. On one of his river strolls he finds a sunbathing teen flashing her pubes off outside her bikini, she confesses shes split up with her boyfriend and is contemplating suicide. Our man Elwyn talks her out of it and obliges by having sex with her there and then on the river bank. This book should have been called Fornicators as opposed to Alligators . Anyway it seems its all a cunning plot to trap old Elwyn, shes only fifteen and shes got herself up the duff. Elseph his wife sods off and leaves him. And hes ballsed his life up good and proper. But forget Elwyn what are the Reptiles up to ?
Detective Carver is drawing blanks and cannot seem to get a break. The soldiers patroling the river banks have only managed to get one escapee. Maybe they should take a leaf out of young local tearaway Keith Prescott. This troubled young man lives with his Aunt after being abandoned in life by pretty much everyone. His BO doesn't help matters. Neither does his noisy motorbike. When he forces posh lass Sarah Boydell into getting on the back of the bike for a lift home it opens up a whole can of worms and Sarahs outraged Dad goes bonkers. Smelly Keith plots revenge. He steals next doors rabbit and puts it in a box as bait for one of the Alligators. He's successful. He then releases the creature into the home of the Boydells whilst the Mother and Father are out. Sarah is badly beaten and bleeding out. And poor Tiger the Cat pays for it with his life after a valiant battle. When her pissed up Mum and Dad return they are about as useful as Tiger, at least he got a few scratches in. It results in the trio held hostage on a bed whilst the creature looks on. But thank God for Mrs Rooney. For even though its 4:am in the morning, she hears the yells for help after a thrown shoe breaks the window. In storm the army and shhot the Aligator to bits.
The river gets dragged but its a case of bolting the door after the horse has bolted. The reptiles are clever.Big Daddy Alligator somehow finds his way into the power plant through an outlet pipe. Two unfortunate workers discover this and meet their end. One gets his belly stomped on and his guts spew forth, whilst the other gets his foot chomped off whilst fleeing in terror. These creatures sure can shift I tell you.
Smelly Keith meanwhile is overjoyed with his earlier misdemeanour and wants to do something similar to his irritating Aunt. Her Budgie becomes the bait this time. But he stumbles upon a now deranged and psychotic Maurice by the river. On the run and gone over the edge he isn't to pleased seeing somebody being cruel to a budgie. Maurice punishes him by tying him up to a pole naked with a gag in his mouth to prevent any calls for help. But it isn't the Alligators who come first. The ants are. And in scenes guaranteed to make you wince they invade every orifice of his body. Up his backside, his nose and yep even that one. Later that evening the slugs turn up and do the same. This sends him over the edge and he vomits. The gag still in place he drowns on his puke. An Alligator comes along but turns its nose up at him as its not a kill but carrion. But two things struck me here. One how can the army force not capture the alligators, but a young teen can ? And how on earth can a naked teen tied to a pole beside a river not be spotted by anybody ? Anyway moving on.
We learn a few more creatures have succumbed to the armies bullets. This puts folks at ease a little. Including a family of four who are camping . The young son goes for a pee in the middle of the night and looses his foot. Mum Dad and Daughter are attacked when they flee across three inches of water. Mum gets swiped with the tail rudder and is sent flying in the air and into a tree. Her intestines break loose from her belly as a result. The daughter is killed by five young nippers in the tall grass. The next Day Julie is riding Jasper her horse. By the river of course. Out comes the ever hungry Mother alligator and eats out Jaspers belly. Its time to release the Hounds.
The Hounds do a good job on the remaining creatures. The young Alligators perish. The mother is furious and makes short work of the dogs. She is now the only remaining escapee alive. Two adulterers in a canal boat pay the price. The man,a bottom smacking fetishist,reaches down into the water to remove what he believes to be a log bumped against the boat. In Dario Argento's Tenebrae style he looses his arm. His bit on the side is painted red with his spraying stump. Her naked body drenched in it. In a brave attempt to protect her he dives on the creature which has now found its way onboard. He dives on it HEADFIRST. obviously he looses his noggin. The Alligator chomps on it like a gobstopper
Old batty Betty chooses the wrong day to go shopping with her genuine crocodile skin handbag. Psycho Maurice follows her and gets her down under the bridge. She pops her clogs. But its Suzi he wants revenge on. Whilst Philip Grant the vet is away he breaks into the surgery and kidnaps Suzi. He is furious at her running out on him, and shagging a bloke with a beard. And one who is helping kill the escaped Alligators. His plan is to take her to the area where he knows the remaining creature is and sacrifice her to it. Of course this involves her being tied up and naked. And he might as well give her a proper good seeing to for good measure.
Grant has a plan to lure the last Alligator,the mother, to the power plant waters with recorded sounds of baby alligators. Meanwhile we are introduced to Brian Brown. A proper oddball who collects and talks to his teddy bear collection. He is planning on going through with his fourth suicide attempt tonight. The reason being he is disgusted with himself for finally masturbating after holding out for so long. So with his favorite teddy he sets of to drown himself. But once again he bails out. But the Mother Alligator gets him. Bites off his legs like a pair of scissors. Full up she goes back underwater. This feast slows down the proceedings with Suzis sacrifice. And in a hail of bullets, more split open abdomens and naked tethered asian woman the showdown finally takes place.
This book is great. For such basic subject matter Guy N Smith delivers for me one of his best. Theres so much going on. Its full of gore and sex. And characters who are so loathesome, he has a brilliant way of creating these people on the page. Its fast paced and never boring and for these reasons and more Alligators has always been a fond favorite of mine.
Classic Guy. Thanks for reminding me of this. I find him hard to read as his style doesn't chime with me, but he always delivers. I get sick of idiots like Robin Ince slagging him off, and I know on the Moorcock forum he was their worst writer... considering some of the writers they like (and also some of the early clunkers in MM's locker, much as he's one of my heroes) this is a bit rich. Say what you like about Guy, he's like Harry Stephen Keeler - he may not be conventional in some of his prose, but by God he's never boring!
I thought that I had a copy of this one, but digging through my collection of GNS books I found it was actually Snakes. Still, reading the posts for Alligators has given me the urge to read a GNS, as I haven't read one for several years and have three or four books as yet untouched.
I was wondering when I was going to be convinced by Guy N Smith. Well, this just about does it. A single family, two species, fast, grisly no nonsense nature nasty of fine form. It begins with caiman mating and egg laying in the insalubrious confines of a stagnant pool in a cheapskate small town reptile zoo. The bull is a slightly dull sort, born in captivity, but the female can still remember the wild and its delicious humans. Only half the eggs hatch, so concerned and caring vet Philip Grant (hero!) advises zoo owner Alex Kerr (not a bad sort exactly, just a bit useless) to change the water. For unclear reasons (or did I just forget?), the zoo's regular American alligators go in the pool with the caimans too. Night comes, and a visit from zealous, frighteningly scarred animal rights activist Maurice Young, comrades Kev and Ian and girlfriend Suzie Lee on lookout. They saw through the pool's protective bars, Kev and Ian become tasty snacks for their troubles and Maurice and Suzie head off, he on the run and she to the arms of Philip Grant, who gives her a job rather than turning her in to the authorities. The alligators make it over the road, through some gardens and to a river. They will be doing a lot more eating. Philip Grant teams up with Detective Carver to hunt them down and kill them, Maurice skulks, and in the end, good times are had by all.
Almost none of the problems I've had with my earlier GNS reading are here. Philip Grant has a proper presence throughout, and an actual impact on events. Maurice is rather sidelined, but does enough to be a good human villain. There's plenty of alligator action, well couched in atmospheric depictions of the waterways and surroundings, decently grisly but not ludicrously drawn out and disgusting. Pretty good suspense to most of the attacks, with victims not guaranteed goners, and because alligators and caimans are naturally huge, fast, ferocious beasts, no need for contrivance. A quality of, not realism exactly, but filmic realism. One could imagine most of this on screen without laughing uncontrollably. While rarely sensitive, subtle, sympathetic or balanced, few of the characterisations really rankle, there isn't too much sense of really putting the boot in. The scuzziest character for instance seems as sinned against as sinning. The story weaves effectively between Grant, Carver and co., victims and a few alligator or caiman point of view scenes, things are always advancing, and even if we basically know how it's all going to pan out, excitement still rises. I could have gone for more of a drawn out climax, it's good but too short. The odd more tasteless moment sticks out a little, but is generally just old fashioned. But generally, this works well. Recommended.