Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Guy N. Smith Book Review - The Resurrected

Merryn is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. With only weeks to live, she marries her fiance Bernie Oldroyd, who travels far and wide to try and find a cure. Medical science proves to be useless, so he seeks the help of Natalie Newman, a pracitioner of white magic. He is unhappy with her inability to promise hard results and is subsequently contacted by a shady man named Richie Howe, a former disciple of Natalie's who has fallen to the dark side. In desperation he agrees to hire his black magic services. After Richie gropes her naked body (not sure whether this was part of a Satanic ritual or just for fun) he promises that he can fix her. "She'll live" he intones ominously "but first she has to die."

The next day she is completely healed, baffling the medical community, but she has come back a changed woman, with nasty halitosis and B.O. that smells like death. She is a zombie, but a zombie with a twist. While most zombies have an insatiable appetite for human flesh, Merryn has an insatiable appetite for dick. I should add that she doesn't actually eat the dicks, she has sex with them (and by extension the people attached). As Doctor Markham states: "This doomed girl had not only risen from her deathbed but she had also turned into a nymphomaniac."

Unfortunately for her husband, as the promiscuous gay rooster once said, "Any cock'll do", and pretty soon she's sitting around all day masturbating and hitting on any dude who is unlucky enough to cross her path. She's also completely under the spell of Richie Howe, and is bound to do whatever he commands, such as participate in Satanic orgies, make human sacrifices to the demon they worship, turn tricks on the street etc. As well as fucking tramps in filthy back alleys, she also becomes increasingly cold and distant to her husband. Typical woman, am I right fellas? Bernie realises that although she is bound to him eternally, she doesn't love him. In desperation, he attempts to kill her by pushing her over a cliff, but he wakes up the next morning with her cold, wet body next to his. After this he gives up, which I consider a pretty poor effort. At least try a decapitation, buddy.

Eventually the demon demands more and more from Richie and his coven, until his control over his demonic powers begins to unravel. His power over Merryn loosens long enough for her and Bernie to formulate a plan to kill him. Only then can she be free of his control, but what will happen to her with Richie's power destroyed?

Unlike most of Smith's books, The Resurrected focuses on a very small group of characters. This doesn't really play to his strengths, as I don't think he's particularly good at creating fleshed-out and compelling characters. He's at his best when he's introducing and dispatching characters within a dozen pages or so. I liked the opening chapters, I really bought Bernie's desperation and I can understand why he'd be driven to seek help anywhere he could find it.

There's a tonne of sex in this book, if you're into that. It's pretty gross though, I mean, she's dead. I don't care how hot she is, I think this goes beyond some listerine and air freshener. There's not a lot of killings, but what's there is very graphic. For instance, there's a detailed description of a woman getting skinned like a rabbit.

I expected the book to end with Bernie giving a tearful goodbye to his wife and learning to accept her death, but instead it ended with an ironic punishment straight out of an old Tales From the Crypt comic. I liked that Smith didn't go for the expected option. I actually found myself creeped out, which certainly didn't happen when I read Night of the Crabs. I've certainly learned my lesson, though. If one day my wife suffers from a fatal illness I don't think I'll resurrect her with the help of a Satanic coven, or if I do, I will seek legal counsel before comitting to anything.

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