First published back in June of 2015, Guy N Smith’s novel ‘Spawn Of The Slime Beast’ formed the sequel to the British pulp horror veteran’s original tale ‘The Slime Beast’ (1975).

DLS Synopsis:
Back in 1975 Gavin Royle managed to destroy the blood-thirsty creature that had been running rampage on the marshlands along the northwest margin of East Anglia known as The Wash.

Now, forty years later, Gavin Royle has returned to the mud flats together with his wife, Liz, and their daughter Amy, along with her frustratingly disagreeable partner Tim.  They had booked a cottage for a week, hoping to enjoy the beautiful scenery and visit the place where Gavin and Liz had first met.

However, upon visiting the concrete blockhouse (where forty years ago Amy had been conceived), Gavin and his family are suddenly hit by a vile stench that brings vivid memories back from all those years ago.  Gavin knows it’s not just the smell of wildfowlers and the like using the place as a urinal.  This is something far worse.

His fears are further backed up when, after storming off along the creek, Amy’s boyfriend, Tim, photographs a collection of footprints at least twelve inches long and five inches wide.  The photographs Tim sends Gavin as a farewell message are proof enough for Gavin that his worst fears have been realised once again.  The depth of the footprints show a remarkably heavy tread.  And there’s no doubt that the shape of them, with the distinctive webbing and the claws, is the very same as he saw forty years ago.

As unbelievable as it seems, the evidence leaves little room for doubt.  The Wash is once again being plagued by the same ferocious and blood-thirsty beast that the media had once dubbed The Slime Beast.  Gavin remembers only too well the devastation that the Slime Beast caused all those years ago.  Nowhere was safe.  Not the marshes, Sutton town, or anywhere surrounding the vast span of The Wash.

Now, somehow the beast has returned.  And soon enough the marshlands will be awash with the blood of its countless victims…

DLS Review:
So, here we are, forty years on from when Smith’s novel ‘The Slime Beast’ (1975) was first published - and we have a brand new sequel.  As explained within the two page introduction the book begins with - in this sequel Smith wanted to answer the question as to the Slime Beast’s origins - something which was never revealed in the original tale.  It made for a good excuse to resurrect one of Smith’s most loved creations.  And with a limited edition hardback release of the original title also being published in the not-too-distant-future, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for such a sequel to be penned.

The novel kicks off a number of years after the events of 1975, when the Slime Beast had been destroyed by Gavin Royle and his flame-thrower.  We’re once again back on the inhospitable yet beautiful marshlands of The Wash, where a young brother and sister are out playing when they happen to stumble upon a strange glutinous and transparent egg-like-sac – inside of which something can be seen wriggling and trying to break free.  When the youngsters bring back their father, professional wildfowling guide Brian Bromley, the contents of the sac are nowhere to be seen.  Only small, slowly dissolving pieces of the transparent sac remain.  Of course, you don’t need much imagination to guess what was inside that sac.

The novel then leaps forward to 2015 when Gavin Royle and his family are once again back in the area.  From here things quickly start to gain momentum, with the first disappearances and savage attacks a matter of a just handful of pages away.

One of the greatest aspects of Smith’s original tale was with the near-perfect backdrop that he utilised for such a monster to run rampage within.  Setting the novels in the Wash provided an atmosphere that completely suited the vile creature.  Putting the sequel in the very same marshlands was pretty much a no brainer.  And as expected, Smith utilises these muddy marshlands to their full effect once again.

It might be some forty years since the original Slime Beast tale was first penned, but not a huge amount has changed with Smith’s writing style since.  The storyline of this sequel is just as over-the-top and genre-embracing.  It’s pulpy and full of outrageous bloodshed.  And the Slime Beast itself is just as vividly described as it was in the original.

Expect the usual cacophony of characters, all wonderfully fleshed-out and ready to become Slime Beast fodder.  Indeed, Smith continues to use his time and tested formula:- chapter-by-chapter introducing characters, purely to kill them off as the chapter comes to a close.

Okay, so the tale’s not going to win any literary awards.  Smith’s work was never aimed at doing so.  What this novel, like all of his others, instead aims to do is entertain.  Pure and simple.  And by god does it do just that.  It’s quite a short novel, even by Smith’s standards.  However, it really crams in the violence, Slime Beast mayhem, escalating suspense, and visceral gore.

The only real downside to the tale is its predictability.  One of the greatest aspects in much of Smith’s previous work is with the sheer unpredictability of the tale.  Anyone could be killed at any point.  The story could suddenly veer off on a completely unlikely tangent, or throw in a sudden twist that completely changes everything.  Unfortunately this isn’t so with ‘Spawn Of The Slime Beast’.  The storyline is much as you would expect, only without any substantial change in direction that takes you by surprise.

That said, ‘Spawn Of The Slime Beast’ is still classic Smith.  It’s got all the right ingredients for a good solid pulp horror novel.  A blood-thirsty creature rampaging around the marshlands devouring the entrails of anyone it happens upon.  Hapless police who are about as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.  And enough arrogant wildfowlers and blundering locals to serve up to the hungry jaws of one of all-time favourite beasties.

Once again Guy N Smith proves that he’s still the master of the pulp horror genre.

The novel runs for a total of 111 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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