Here, as promised is a quicky on Snowbeast. Again sorry for lack of pic. I have neither the skills or the capabilities to put one up. Dem always bails me out though.
We begin way up in the snowy slopes of Ben McDhui, where after a group of Deer are spooked off, then we meet Shepherd Hughie Fergus, who whilst doing his rounds is shocked to see his usually tough mutt Rory bolt back indoors to the cottage, its spooked by some strange crying it hears off in the hills. A superstitious Hughie is convinced its The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, or The Snowbeast. Meanwhile in a Monastery below in the village Father Robert finds Father Andrew in a proper state in his quarters.
Next day Charles Mitchell the local ranger and mountain guide is setting up a party to venture the aforementioned slopes. He's having a little difficulty with a certain Sir John Hastings. A basic been-there, done-that know it all. Thankfully that can't be said about the American Tony Glover. It isn't long before they too hear the crying up in the peaks from something strange and unfathomable. Hastings the know all says he once heard similar sounds up on Mount Everest, Yeah whatever mate.
Back down in Bundalloch village young Ellen McDonald has just arrived to pay her Uncle Murdo a visit. After stopping off for a Cheese and tomato butty at the local motel and pub she hears the tanked up Hughie Fergus shooting his mouth off about the Snowbeast. An intrigued Ellen is asked to question her Uncle about this. But her Uncle isn't home, as he is attending the poorly Father Andrew in the monastery. The cries from the hills are sending him bat shit crazy it would seem.
Up in the hills the climbers discover the old ruined Danduff castle, where once a certain Black Angus Rattray once dwelled. His apparent pastimes were torture, devil worship and black magic. He also is said to own a devil creature that he used to keep people away who unpleased him. This sounds interesting.
Hamish Cameron a sheep farmer hears a whole lot of commotion, on investigation he sees his sheep going bananas , rushing about in a frenzy. Bruce the dog is no good and he too makes a bolt for it. The scramble results in two sheep plummeting down a ravine, and another dying of burst blood vessels through panic ( erm ok ? )
Back to the climbers, and the difficult Hastings is getting on everyones nerves now. So much to the fact where he takes over the hike. But like the total tit he is, ends up out cold and with a broken leg after a bothched showing-off attempt. There no doubt about it our hero Charles Mitchell will have to get the others safe and get help, whilst Glover offers to stay behind as the night draws in. As is my anticipation of a nocturnal Yeti attack on them.
Doc MacDonald does catch up with Ellen. And after much talk of Snowbeasts, Yeti's and even The Beathach an T Sneach ( what ?? ) he tells his niece of the findings in the Monastery, and deduces that Brother Andrew is possessed.
In the hills again. Glover is getting a bit uneasy. More cries are heard. And he presumes he sees a strange shadowy form in the blizzard watching him. AT LAST the monster is here. But wait...... its gone He buggers of back to his tent anyway. Hamish Cameron meanwhile is chuffed. He's managed to find a buyer for two of his dead sheep, but another sheep of his buys the farm in a stampede as more commotion sends the animals barmy. And the Doc thinks he sees a hairy brown form walking along the roadside that night after a trip to check on the Abbot. But when he gets out to check, he reckons it could be a tree.
Now at this point I'm beginning to get a bit fed up with the false scares and dead ACCIDENTAL sheep casualties. I want some hardcore sightings, or attacks. Hell even a pair of eyes peering through at someone would help. But Tremayne is really digging his heels on this one. Anyway.
Next morning Doc discovers that Brother Andrew has recovered. Apparently he was exorcised during the night and feels ok. Sod that thinks Doc, I'm gonna hypnotise him. Here we get the usual " its coming" and " Beware " etc. Glover has been found by the helicopter. He loads up the injured Hastings, but declines a lift as he wants to follow the tracks he has seen in the snow. They ultimately take him to the old castle, where he sees a form wandering about ( at last ) he creeps down and carefully enters a large hall. THEN he hears a sound behind him and turns to see........ Ellen Mac Donald...... No Snowy . Right that's it half time I'm having a break from this a while.
Don't get me wrong it s a decent read. But there's nothing gripping to keep you reading. The blokes in the pub keep on giving their Friday the 13th Crazy Ralph style stories, The book continues with the cries in the hills... CRIES.. CRIES, I want bellows and Roars. Even a Growl would do. But Cries doesn't exactly give me the creeps and set the tone. Even in the dodgy old film Boggy Creek we saw virtually nothing but somebody sat on an outhouse loo got shook up as the shack got....well shook up. This book is exactly how Curse of LochNess was. Maybe it will pick up as that one did. More to come....
Yep ! Thats the one. Thank you for uploading that pic.
Ok lets continue.
Things do get better in the second half of the book. The Doc Hypnotises Father Andrew again, he spouts more bizarre dialogue in Gaelic and mentions somebody named Shookpa. Hamish Cameron is still down in the dumps, more so when he sees a dark shape skulking off into his barn. Presuming it to be vagrants stealing his eggs again he goes to comfront the intruder. A figure rises from the gloom with glowing red eyes, it seizes Hamish round the neck, throttles him and throws his form onto the spikes of a plough. The Doc has called in his old pal Professor Cunningham to help get his head round things. When they get to the monastery to see Andrew, Cunningham recognise him as being Andrew Stewart, the once famous amateur climber, who was well known in the 60s and 70s, none more so when he suddenly disappeared for a period. This is proven when a rummage in his private quarters unearths notes of Andrew and his Sherpa friend gettting lost and Andrew was taken in buy a strange breed of creatures that live in the hills who telepathically speak to humans... Are you still with me ? After Constable Roberts has deduced Cameron was murdered, he drives back down into the village, only to be run off the road when a strange hairy figure stands in front of his vehicle, in good old corny fashion it plummets down the embankment and explodes. Not before he crawls free and utters the dying words " Warn others it exists" The locals are restless, the roads are blocked and the phone lines are now down. And to make matters worse the wife of the Inn owner Kirsty McKail has spotted the creature in her back garden whilst washing up, her poor old Alsatian gets killed. Enoughs enough, a lynch mob is formed. Not Tam Clunes though, he's having none of it. Well he won't be having anything anymore after he gets dragged over a wall and throttled by the beast. By this time Brother Andrew is having more flashbacks about the creatures. We learn they are a peachful race who never venture near humans and only attack when threatened. Proof of this is of course his safe release and ultimate decision to become the monk he is now. But why is this current creature hostile ? and whats this about the creature hiding in the ruins ? Well the lynch mob head there and indeed shoot and wound the Snowbeast, the Prof, Doc , Ellen and Glover intervene and take the 7 foot 2 monster back to the lab and cage it up. Its whimpering and crying like a child evokes something else up in the hills. A parent. And in welter of broken French windows, mangled cages and overturned tables it redeems its infant. Mummy Snowbeast also makes ofF with a fainted Ellen who succumbed in the aforementioned French window assault. It all concludes in Volcanic, Earthquaking, Telepathic, Fiery Pit frolics, and in true Scooby doo style we get the reason for all this havoc.
And thats it basically. It by no means is a classic, and it shares a lot in common with Curse of Loch Ness. I did enjoy the book, its fast paced and likeable. Much better than a lot of his other novels. But Angelus will still be his best for me.
Post by franklinmarsh on Feb 14, 2015 22:22:24 GMT
From the Peter Tremayne thread in Favourite Authors -
A recent bout of illness (nothing serious) saw me racing through a few tomes. As a complete sea change from Laymon's excesses, I polished off an ex-library (Hardback! Aieeee!) copy of Snowbeast! No excessive gore and no dodgy smut, but a rattling good tale of a Scots Yeti, a feverish monk, some rubbish climbers, a snowed-in Caledonian village, the Rob Roy Hotel - scene of much boozing and rabble-rousing by those who've had their dogs murdered, to raise a Universal Horror style group of villagers (with battery powered torches - and shotguns) to hunt down the beastie. Wildly mental volcanic hippie ending. Will try to throw up a cover later.
Personally I am not entirely convinced by that cover
Thanks for the scan, Mr. Doom. According to Justin at Paperback Fanatic, the cover painting is the work of Terry Oakes who was also responsible for the equally striking The Curse Of Loch Ness among many others. I just reread Justin's fascinating interview with Peter Tremayne in Paperback Fanatic # 9. Sadly, Snowbeast, Angelus! & Co. didn't come up for discussion on this occasion, but loved that, in the following issue, Mr. Tremayne lauded the magazine as "an indispensable journal to the literary morticians."
And thank you, erebus and FM, for the reviews. God help me, but Snowbeast has gone straight to wants list.
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.