Sunday, 16 March 2008

Guy N. Smith Book Review - Killer Crabs

Now this is more like it! Killer Crabs is Guy N. Smith's second crab book, and like any good sequel, he takes everything that was great about the first book (gory deaths, explicit sex) and takes it up a notch!

The book starts off the Norwegian coast, where a bunch of fishermen get the ol' snippety-snip. The crabs are on the move! It seems they've understandably gotten sick of the weather in the UK and moved to the Royal Hayman Hotel, a fancy island resort off the coast of Queensland. Because the book is set in Australia, we need a grizzled, no-nonsense hero in khaki shorts. Here it's Klin, a hairy man's man who can't go anywhere without people gasping in awe at his rugged manliness. One day he is out shooting at a bunch of dastardly Japanese poachers, when he spies an enormous crab scuttling along the reef.

Because you can't have everyone believing the hero right away, the events of the first book have been banished to the annals of folklore. I would have thought that horse-sized crabs killing dozens of people would have made more of a splash in the news. Maybe it was overshadowed by the UK winning the 1976 Eurovision song contest with Brotherhood of Man's Save All Your Kisses For Me.

Anyway, after a bunch of local fishermen and a whole boat full of Japanese poachers are turned into crab chow, the Australian authorities start to pay attention. Enter Professor Cliff Davenport, marine botanist, hero of the first book and no stranger to the murderous crustaceans. He is on the first flight over.

The resort is also host to a number of secondary characters. Corder is a portly reporter from the mainland, hoping to catch the scoop on the giant crabs. Harvey Logan is a big game hunter who is looking to bag himself a great white, though his skills may not match his reputation. Caroline Du Brummer, resident high-flier and nymphomaniac, bangs any guy she can find, but has an agenda of her own.

Soon the crabs make their assault on the resort and they are just as invulnerable as ever, barely noticing the blast of a destoyer's 40mm guns. One unlucky crab gets killed by a ricocheting fragment of shell and Harvey Logan, emasculated after a woeful bedroom performance with Caroline, claims it as his kill. Hitherto unmentioned in this review is Frank Burke, a thief on the run. He is in possession of a briefcase containing 20,000 pounds and Harvey, Caroline and Klin all get embroiled in a subplot about the stolen money.

All of this leads up to the finale, where Klin, Shannon (chief shark-patrol officer) and Davenport end up stranded on an island mangrove swamp, and hope to destroy the crabs before they can spawn. The book kind of loses it at the end, but it's a suitably brief and action-packed journey getting there.

The kills in this book are more gruesome than in the last book. No longer content with a simple bisection, characters get their limbs amputated, decapitated and disemboweled in a single sitting. Sex scenes are plentiful and described in Guy N. Smith's lurid yet not quite pornographic style. Two claws up!

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