(can't find a pic online anywhere...anyway, it's a red-tinted photo of a human skull lying in the grass...does the job, bit dull though)
This is Chandler's second Hamlyn nasty, after 'The Tribe'. In this one, a group of teenagers take a boat to an abandoned Scottish island. The guy who planned the trip is a keen bird-watcher, and Inch Crag is a sanctuary for wildlife. It's also a place of superstition and death, as the big kilt-wearing Scot who takes them there informs them. No one has lived on the island for years, and anyone who's tried to visit never comes back to tell the tale. The island seems to have a mind of its own. Despite all this, the big cliched Scottish lad takes them over, and one by one, they meet their fate.
I've hacked through this and have nearly finished it. It's an 'animals attack' clone (not that you'd necessarily think so by the generic 'horror' cover) and it's handled pretty well. Chandler's writing is sober and effective, with just enough exposition of character for us to care when the youngsters start meeting their comeuppance. The back cover tags it a 'nasty', and it is fairly nasty I suppose, but not too shocking. We've seen decapitation by eagle and fatal stinging by thousands of jellyfish, but nothing up to some of the excesses of the period. Reads a little old-fashioned, really. There will be some supernatural side to the story which will be divulged in the last few pages, I reckon (an occultist is buried on the island). Might pop back here when I've finished...but I probably won't!
Descriptions of nature are handled well ( as in GNS). A very sober book though, compared to lots of stuff I've read from the period. No way near as unhinged and far-fetched as 'Slither' by John Halkin, say, and less memorable. Not bad though, worth a go. Will have to look for "The Tribe" as it's meant to be a lot more gruesome.
By far the most interesting thing about this, for me, is what Amazon is saying! I got this from Empire Exchange in Manchester the other week for FORTY PENCE, yet the two copies currently available in Marketplace are going for around fifty quid! Bejasus! Is this book really that rare?
Next Hamlyn? I have a copy of The Specialist by Jasper Smith that I've never read. Looks very unsavoury. Anyone read this?
I can't see anyone snapping them up for that price, can you? The Tribe is going for a penny. Unless someone knows something I don't? Unless it's highly desirable for Taggart completists, maybe?
For all I know, it might be ultra-rare, Bush, but i doubt it. Don't forget The Black Book of Horror was up there for £100 not so long ago - yes, that The Black Book of Horror, the one you can still buy direct from Dr. Terror at cost price.
We had some guy on the old board trying to flog us his collection of mostly run-of-the-mill horrors, and he warned us not to try and play smart with him because he'd checked adebooks and knew what they were "worth". He's probably still out there somewhere, trying to flog a 70th reprint of The Rats for a grand ....
Really enjoyed your review. "We've seen decapitation by eagle and fatal stinging by thousands of jellyfish" does it for me so that's yet another scratched on the wall as a most wanted.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Finished. Not a bad ending, rushed as is often the way with these things. There is a 'twist' at the end but not a massive surprise as such, but ends on a good set-piece, pretty grim, with only one survivor. Well written, reasonable gore levels, not much unintentional humour value - worth a punt but not in the same insane league as Richard Lewis or John Halkin.