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on 23 June 2017
Still the best of him THE DJINN & THE SPHINX
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on 16 June 2017
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on 16 January 2015
I discovered Graham Masterton quite by chance. A colleague who left his job somewhat unexpectedly left one of his novels in his desk, a thoroughly enjoyable read called "The Sleepless". They were, I wasn't, but I was hooked. I am a huge horror fan, this was a new author, so let's have some more!

There was a small independent bookshop not too far from where I was living at the time. I used to visit frequently and chat to the owner, who is also a horror fan. I loved that place, and I miss it still. Where else can it take you half an hour to make a purchase, even after you've chosen the book and got to the counter? One day, amongst a couple of other things, I picked "Black Angel" from the shelf. "I've just started reading this," she said "the first chapter's really nasty." Well, that was like a red rag to a bull with me, and I nearly ran home to get started.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Yes? Good! It's probably just as well, because if you were the one reading this novel, you wouldn't be for long! This is most definitely not bedtime reading. I wouldn't recommend reading it after a heavy meal, either. It's nasty, and I love it, but it is only for those with a strong stomach!

The novel opens on the kind of family scene that Americans seem to like calling "typically American". The children in bed, ex-cop Joe Berry and his wife Nina are doing typically homely things. He's finishing dinner, she’s making a pie. (Apple? Of course!) But there's a little countdown happening between the lines. What's that all about? By this time, I've already taken a liking to Joe, as he has indicated a shared belief in one of my own philosophies: "Decaff isn't coffee. Same as lite beer isn't beer." You tell 'em, Joe!

By the end of the first chapter, however, the countdown has reached zero. And what was it counting down to? A brutal attack on the Berry family. When I say brutal, I mean BRUTAL! A man breaks into their apartment, nails Joe and Nina to the floor, making each hammer the first nail into their spouse's hand, on their hands and knees (nails through their knees, oh yes!), rapes Nina and nails their two children to the wall before setting them alight, whilst their parents are forced to watch. Well, they can't really go anyplace else. This is our first introduction to the man known to San Francisco Police as the Fog City Satan.

Detective Larry Foggia is assigned to the case, to take over from a colleague. Now that the Fog City Satan has started killing their own, the police and the city mayor suddenly have a new urgency, and want the killer caught NOW. Larry is chosen largely due to his being high profile, and good with the media. Larry immediately suspects that he has been handed the case in an effort to end his career, and that there are reasons behind the case being transferred that he does not know about. There are, but not the ones he suspects.

After certain inexplicable events, Larry begins to suspect a supernatural force behind the murders. Much to the disgust of his superiors and colleagues, he begins investigating along these lines. Despite their reservations, further incidents and hearing stories that sounds familiar to what he has seen with his own eyes confirm his suspicions. As he continues, more and more inexplicable and gruesome things happen, convincing Larry he’s on the right track, but confusing him and scaring him more and more.

And it’s not just Larry Foggia that’s likely to be scared by what described either. Masterton has this wonderful way of both scaring and grossing out the reader. The action keeps coming, with hardly time to draw breath between one shocking event and the next, before building into a huge finish.

But it’s the death scenes that make this as good (or bad, depending on your viewpoint!) as it is. Every time you get to another death, it is described in such detail, almost lovingly, that you get the impression that Masterton is really enjoying his death scenes. Which, in all honesty, makes two of us. This is the kind of thing you read horror novels to see, and I’ve not seen a death described in as much detail anywhere, particularly the one where a character is hit by a truck. The images of that one have stayed in my memory for a long time, and not in the best kind of way. Masterton does the disgustingly messy death better than anyone I can think of!

This is quite possibly one of the books I've most enjoyed, in my own warped little way! The deaths, whilst largely unrealistic, are vividly described down to the last drop of blood and Wilbert Fraser's demise is particularly painful from a male point of view! In every death Masterton puts King and Koontz to shame - they never killed anybody this well! This is a novel you really want to see on screen, just to see how they handle the deaths but, at the same time you don't, as you know they will ruin the novel, as films often do!

There are also, despite all this, some nice humorous touches throughout the novel. Larry's leaving of a message for his informant, and the confusion of the person trying to accept that the message really should read "Tell Dogmeat he's dogmeat" is good fun, as is Larry's snide remarks and running battle with his mother's parrot. There are other mildly amusing moments, but although they do lighten the mood slightly, they can’t take your mind off the blood and gore for long.

If you have a weak stomach, or a nervous disposition, or have trouble sleeping at the best of times, stay well away from this book. But if you’re the kind of twisted person who enjoys a good horror novel and loves a big dollop of blood and gore, a bit like me, in fact, you've got to jump aboard.

This review may also appear under my name at any or all of [...], [...] [...] www.amazon.co.uk and [...]
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on 14 April 2011
Surely the reader can suspend disbelief for only so long.

I really enjoyed the first two thirds of this. Don't get me wrong, the opening chapter, as some poeple have already referenced, was rather difficult to read; even for us horror vetrans. It did seem to be a case of: I'm-going-to-concoct-the-grisleyest-death-I-can-think-of...-just-because-I-can!-Mwah-ha-ha!

However, the fast pace kept me interested, and there were some good ideas. I liked the seedy bar scene (up to the point of the toilet vaporising.) My suspension determination began to waver. At the death of the officer's mother, I cried aloud for some compassionate response. Given the relationship between he and his mother, of which was portrayed as a very good one. I think the horrific demise should have provoked more of a reaction. The writer does later fleetingly comment that the character might have been handling it so well due to shock, but I think things were beyond redemtion at this point.

And it started off so promisingly. A shame.
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on 2 September 2005
Black Angel has to be one of the most darkest horror novels around. With he first chapter, being truly dark and very detailed.
this in itself may well put many people off the rest of the book, which is far less graphic.
However for those who do dare to venture on, what the will find is the work of a true horror genius, an in-dept and terrifing story, with many truly greate moments of supernatural horror, held within its pages
A recommened read
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on 5 September 2007
Black Angel doesn't take prisoners; a black hole of a novel that sucks the reader in. from the ticking time-bomb of an introduction, Black Angel is one of Graham Masterton's very best novels. It is dark, oozing with blood and a genuinely scary book.
This book will stay with you for a very long time to come.
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on 5 June 2017
Not an easy read.not for the faint hearted or easily shocked.Amazing writing.scary that someone could imagine this atall
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on 6 September 2003
Graham Masterton is a superb horror writer and one that,in my opinion should be more popular than he is.Perhaps the reason for his limited following is that his books,to me,seem to be a bit more extreme than other writers,some parts of this book made me feel sick to my stomach,which really is what a horror book should do.This is an absolutely fantastic novel but not for the faint hearted,read it with the lights on!!!
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on 8 November 2014
I don't think I've ever read such rubbish in all my life. Started off ok, Bit gory but I don't mind that. But it just went from bad to worse until I had to start skimming through to the end. It was just ridiculous. I couldn't empathise with anyone. Even the main character Larry. First book I've read by this author and the last :(
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VINE VOICEon 10 January 2010
Black Angel is the first book by Graham Masterton that I've ever read. Gladly, it won't be the last. Masterton 's skill at shocking the reader, building suspense and delivering a really rewarding ending are applaudable, and I'm glad I gave this author a try.

Black Angel is a shocking, gory, utterly dark novel which begins with a truly horrific description of a family's murder by a psychotic killer. From the first page, this book grips you and doesn't let go. The gore, violance, cruelty and evil that follow are quite horrific, and at times turned my stomach and forced me to take a break from reading.

Once the basic premise behind the book has been set up, the middle, whilst still enjoyable to read, lacks the same level of shock and gore as those initial first chapters did. I'd have liked the suspense and horror of the actual murders to be dragged out a little, but instead the details are pretty much all revealed in the beginning and there's little left to shock the reader afterwards.

There were still plenty of grisly events afterwards, but somehow I found them not as shocking as earlier parts of the book. However, there was a constant supernatural influence to events that was quite creepy and kept me from reading in the house alone. Overall, the book is well paced and easy to read. Some of the decisions the main character made were a little difficult to follow, but for the most part, were pretty logical. I did think that there was perhaps an overly large cast list, though, which gave me problems towards the end - I struggled to keep track of who was who. Perhaps Black Angel just didn't have the length needed to develop the extensive character list and make them more memorable.

The ending was brilliant, and I was pleasantly surprised by how gripping and satisfying it was. The villain (I won't give away spoilers) was very believable, very frightening. Black Angel was utterly un-putdownable by the last chapter.

Overal, this is not a book if you don't like gore, horror, cruelty, ghosts, spirits or the supernatural. But if you're looking for something dark, bloody and disturbing, Black Angel might well be for you.
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