I had written at the beginning of the year that I wanted to read more Graham Masterton this year and I just have not been able to do that so far (although I read this book and am reading another now, so I guess I am getting there). I had a chance to read Masterton’s upcoming “Plague of the Manitou” and could not pass up the chance to jump back into Masterton’s long-running horror series.
Anna Grey is one of the leading virus experts in the world and has seen many disturbing things over the years. The sight of the sick man vomiting blood and convulsing violently was still enough to disturb her. When the man’s corpse started speaking as she examined his dead body, she begins to question her sanity. When the same thing happens with another corpse, that of her fiancée, a couple days later, she begins to question everything she believes in. She is a woman of science. There is not room for this type of thing in her world.
Harry Erskine may appear to be just another fortune teller to many. In fact, some think that he is nothing more than a con artist who tells the fortune of the wealthy elderly in order to get their money from them. Erskine is much more than that. He has faced the power magic of the Native Americans and the wendigo before. When he is told by ancient spirits to warn the country that they are to leave or be destroyed, he knows that it is an impossible task and tries to run and hide. Instead, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a powerful force that is unleashing a plague upon the country that is quickly killing thousands. Harry and Anna must join together to battle this vengeful plague before the death toll rises and the world that they have known is destroyed.
Masterton first broke into horror with the “Manitou” series and “Plague of the Manitou” proves that the series is still running strong. Masterton brings his blend of some shocking horror and a well-planned plot and superior writing to give the novel a raw and yet still crafted feel. While some authors may turn to extreme horror in order to shock and cover an inferior plot, Masterton masterfully blends in the more extreme aspects of the story to emphasize the horror. There are some truly shocking passages in this novel and yet they are never gratuitous. All of the elements that make Masterton one of the best writers in the genre are present in this novel and it is easy to see why Masterton has been so successful for such a long time.
That is not to say that “Plague of the Manitou” is a great novel or that it is Masterton’s best novel. It is neither great nor is it Masterton’s best. “Plague of the Manitou” is a very good horror novel and it continues the series admirably. While this is the 7th novel in the series, it is not necessary to have read the previous books in order to enjoy this one. There is some of Harry Erskine’s backstory that adds to the novel for longtime Masterton fans but new readers will have no problem picking up the narrative. Erskine remains a very good character and reluctant hero as his humanity plays off well against the inhumanity of the horror that surrounds him. I thought that the book wound up a little too neatly and easily but that is more a quibble than anything. Masterton fans will be with the latest installment of the series and the novel is good enough that new readers can jump on board and get a fresh sample of Masterton’s talent. It is well worth the time to read this (and really any of Masterton’s) books and fans of horror should not hesitate in picking this novel up.
I would like to thank Severn House and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Plague of the Manitou” is scheduled for release in August.