First published back in October of 2010, British genre author Stuart Neild’s fourth full-length novel to see publication was his gloriously pulpy title ‘Giant Killer Eels’.  The novel was originally set to be released in June of 2009 titled ‘Fathom’ by Ghostwriter Publications,  however due to ‘issues’ with this particular publishing outfit, the novel was never actually released by them and ended up finally a self-published venture by the author.  To date the publication has only been made available in ebook format.

DLS Synopsis:
For years the legend of ‘Old Slippery’, the giant eel that inhabits the picturesque lakes within Britain’s Lake District, has drawn the curious, the investigative and the desperate believers to the popular tourist spot.

For thirteen-year-old Mark and his best friend John, their joint love of cryptology had brought them to there, in the hope of finally proving the existence of this mythical giant eel.  And so, whilst keeping their weekend jaunt hidden from their parents, the two young lads set up camp on the lakeside at Hodge Close – a purposefully chosen quiet and secluded spot within The Lake District.

Meanwhile, Lance and Mia, whose fragile marriage is seriously on the rocks, have arrived at their holiday cottage overlooking the scenic Lake Ullswater also located in The Lake District.  Much to Lance’s annoyance, the couple have their pet Great Dane, Daner, along with them.  A needy mutt, who Lance believes is partly responsible for their deteriorating marriage.  Although he had to admit that his affair with Sabrina might well have been a strong contributing factor.

Elsewhere in The Lake District, eighteen-year-old Ozzy and his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Tina, have arrived at the caravan Ozzy rented out for a romantic break together by Lake Windermere.  A weekend in which Ozzy hopes he will finally get to have his way with his beautiful girlfriend.  But it seems like it could all be spoilt when a group of local thugs, led by Camel Fosbrook, start to harass then stalk the courting couple.

Back at Hodge Close and Mark and John have located an old water-logged slate mine where they first witness vague movement under the waterline.  And as they stare into the murky depths below, the two youngsters almost jump out of their skins when the local vagrant, Yanick, disturbs them.

Returning later to the same abandoned slate mine, Mark and John discover the floating corpse of Daner, who Lance had purposefully led down to the water to finally get rid of the pesky dog.  However, as they poke and prod the mutt’s floating body, it rolls over to reveal the ripped-away underside.  And then all of a sudden the dog’s remains are yanked under the water by something lurking underneath.

After bumping into Yanick again, the eccentric vagrant takes the two boys to his tumbledown shed where he proceeds to tell them what he knows of ‘Old Slippery’ and the underground lake that connects all of the visible lakes of The Lake District together.  A vast interconnecting body of water where ‘Old Slippery’ is said to inhabit.  A secret and hidden lake known as Blood Lake.

It all seems just that little too far-fetched for even the two impressionable young boys.  However, when a vicious storm hits the local area that night, the truth behind the legends of Blood Lake rise up and reveal themselves.  For The Lake District is not just home to one giant eel.  From out of the interconnecting lakes, a swarm of flesh-hungry gigantic killer eels rise up, and begin their systematic attack on the nearby population.

Suddenly The Lake District is the scene of a terrifying war between mankind and giant killer eels...

DLS Review:
Well what can I say?  With a title like ‘Giant Killer Eels’ how the hell can you refuse?  What’s more, before the tale even begins, Neild slips in a quick dedication to the veritable master of the pulp horror genre – Guy N Smith.  And it’s certainly thanks to the likes of Guy N Smith and his fellow ‘Creatures vs Mankind’ kin that novels such as this still appear.  Indeed, as the novel cautiously sets out, chapter by chapter introducing the handful of characters that happen to come to The Lake District for that particular fateful weekend, there’s a real B-Movie-cum-pulp-horror atmosphere quivering within the pages.

From early on the tale seems to be edging towards an enthusiastic homage to the whole ‘Giant Creatures On The Rampage’ subgenre.  Neild doesn’t shy away from such a notion.  In fact, he actively embraces his and no doubt his readers’ passion for the books and authors that founded such tales.  With respectful nods towards the forefathers of such literature, such as with lines like “This was a scene straight out of one of those Guy N Smith horror books his Dad used to read”.  The novel really does come across as a ‘Creatures vs Mankind’ horror novel written by a fan for the fans.  And this is a delightfully poignant quality that shines through the tale from start to finish.

Admittedly, characterisation is paper-thin throughout.  Indeed, barely a single character is given a surname or even the briefest of histories.  They’re pretty much all there as eel fodder, nothing more and nothing less.  You’ve got a couple of ‘heroes’ in the loosest sense of the word, but that’s about it.  The rest is just setting the scene for some real carnage to follow.  And by heck does it follow!

At about the half-way point of this reasonably short tale, the action starts to come in thick and fast.  From the emergence of the first colossal eel (some of which are easily bigger than a two-story house), the mayhem and destructive chaos just mounts and mounts.  Buildings are smashed to rubble, bodies are ripped to bloody pieces and vehicles are crushed beyond recognition.  It’s soon a case of Brian Keene’s ‘Earthworm Gods’ (2005) meets Ron Underwood’s  film ‘Tremors’ (1990), meets Guy N Smith’s ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976).  Okay, so it’s all localised (at the minute anyway) to The Lake District.  But there’s plenty of potential there for the eels to go further and give mankind a damn good run for their money.

From a reasonably slow and cautious start, the novel ends up as a ferocious B-Movie-esque beast of a tale.  The latter half of the tale is unrelenting.  It’s the battle at Barmouth from ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976) just relocated and with gigantic eels in the place of giant flesh-hungry crabs.  The army don’t stand a chance!  And Neild’s clearly loving the chaos he’s unleashing on our unprepared human defences.

It has to be said that the one jarring downfall of the novel is the serious lack of proofreading prior to publication.  There are typos and grammatical errors all over the shop.  And as such, reading the tale starts to feel a little amateurish – not due to the author’s writing or the subject at hand – but solely due to the repeated number of typing errors on each page.  Something that should have been cleared up prior to its publication.  And hopefully something that the author will address at some point in the not too distant future.

But typo’s aside, it still has to be said that this monster-movie-of-a-tale is one hell of an enthralling read.  It goes hell for leather with the over-the-top destruction and awe-inspiring beasties on the rampage.  It’s one to sit back and just enjoy for a good few hours in one or two action-packed sittings.  Enjoy!

The novel runs for a total of 108 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Make a free website with Yola