First published back in April of 1984, Guy N Smith’s pulp horror novel ‘Crabs’ Moon’ was the fifth instalment into the author’s signature Crabs series.
Although this is the fifth crabs novel to be released, it finds itself slotted in alongside ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976) in the sequential order of the series. Indeed, on the inside title page, underneath the books title, it declares this with the subtitle ‘Night Of The Crabs 2’. If that wasn't enough to whet the appetite of any good crabs fan, then I don't know what will!
Just before the novel kicks off, Smith included a quick passage to explain exactly where this instalment falls within the chronology of the crabs series. Smith’s statement is as follows:
“In the summer of 1976 the giant crabs first attacked Mankind on the Welsh coast. Part of that was told in Night of the Crabs; the remainder is told in this book - GNS”.
Whilst Irey Wall’s husband goes off on a fishing trip with his mates, Irey is sent off to the Blue Ocean Holiday Camp at Shell Island, with their two children in tow. And it’s not long before Irey meets up with musclehead, Keith Baxtor, who decides to take Irey on a secluded picnic, with the obvious intention of seducing her. However, Baxtor’s raunchy plans don’t get very far, when out from the sea emerge a group of gigantic crustaceans.
With a newfound hunger for human flesh, the crabs begin their invasion of Shell Island. At this point Smith inserts the first part of Chapter One from ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976) into the novel. This excerpt is taken literally word-for-word and forms the entirety of the third chapter to ‘Crabs’ Moon’. Although this seems like a slightly bizarre approach to writing a new crabs novel, it is somewhat necessary in order for the reader to clearly follow where this instalment fits in with the chronological sequence of the other crabs novels, as well as allowing it to stand as a complete story within itself.
The crabs have now unleashed all hell on the community of Shell Island, including those staying within the Blue Ocean Holiday Camp. Two of the holiday camp reps (‘Greencoats’) that are at the Camp when the crabs attack are Gordon Smallwood and his girlfriend Jean Ruddington. Jean doesn’t hang around long once the first gigantic crab homes into view, and she subsequently scarpers off to look after her sister. To his utter dismay, Gordon now finds himself pretty much singlehandedly attempting to protect the holiday makers from the advancing crustacean army.
Meanwhile, Barmouth have their own war with the crabs on their hands however a reduced number if army personnel nevertheless turn up in a vain attempt at protecting the civilians at Shell Island.
Guided by the full moon and their King Crab leader, the crabs declare their unforgiving hatred for humanity as they hit the people of Shell Island again and again, whenever the moon is full. The battle of Shell Island is on, and this time the crabs are unrelenting...
‘Crabs’ Moon’ is a curious instalment into the crabs series. Instead of continuing on from where ‘Crabs On The Rampage’ (1981) concluded, it instead reverts back to period of ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976) and instead follows on with the storyline from Shell Island instead of the war at Barmouth. In doing so, it does fill in a large gap that was present within ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976), developing on these early crabs wars and thickening out the crabs saga as a whole.
Smith delivers the usual high death count with buckets of bloody gore thrown in at every possible opportunity. Detailed depictions of the crabs’ frenzied levels of violence are crammed into the book, leaving little room for much in the way of an elaborate storyline.
Somewhat limited by the events and final outcome from ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976), Smith decides upon the simple (and relatively safe) option of simply delivering a novel bursting with crab action and little else. As fast-paced as it is, the novel still comes across to the reader as pretty darn shallow without any real substance to the overall plot.
Instead of adding any further insight into the crabs, or indeed developing more on the principals set down within the other novels, ‘Crabs’ Moon’ seems to be there purely to bring the reader another wedge of gory crab action and little more.
The ending to the novel is extremely weak, leaving the reader feeling unsatisfied by the way the tale has concluded. Smith does however end on the following author’s note:
“Following the attack on the Blue Ocean Holiday Camp the giant crabs moved back to Barmouth where they demolished the viaduct over the estuary and more lives were lost. It was Professor Cliff Davenport who finally defeated them, matching strength and cunning with ingenuity, and rid the Welsh coast of danger. This story is related in Night of the Crabs”.
So there you have it. All in all, ‘Crabs’ Moon’ is an enjoyable read packed with fast-paced action and page after page of blood spill. It’s pretty much just a novel for fans of the crabs series, with little else in the book to satisfy any other criteria. This is a shame, but hopefully not enough to put anyone off reading the book. Just make sure you have the previous four crabs books under your belt beforehand.
The novel runs for a total of 284 pages.
© DLS Reviews