Mono­lith

Bricks and slaugh­ter

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Re­lease Date: 2 April 336 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor: Shaun Hut­son Pub­lisher: Caf­feine Nights

God­fa­ther of gore Shaun Hut­son has been pen­ning nov­el­i­sa­tions for Ham­mer since 2010. Mono­lith marks a wel­come re­turn to his own ma­te­rial.

The Crys­tal Tower is a new sight on Lon­don’s sky­line – a glit­ter­ing glass and con­crete ed­i­fice that should be a real es­tate hot ticket, but is blighted by mys­te­ri­ous ac­ci­dents. Peo­ple die in fall­ing el­e­va­tors or get skew­ered by rogue fork­lifts. Jour­nal­ists Jess and Alex in­ves­ti­gate, but are plunged into dan­ger when they un­cover a sin­is­ter se­cret.

Mono­lith re­sides hap­pily within the cosy- hor­ror sub­genre. That’s not a slight – this is a de­cent tale, well- told – but there’s a fa­mil­iar­ity to the plot and the way that Hut­son’s no- non­sense prose cuts to the chase.

There’s also an un­ex­pected el­e­ment of po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary. As peo­ple drop in the tower, it’s hard not to think of the 400+ Nepalese con­struc­tion work­ers who have died since Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. As sev­eral char­ac­ters re­mark here, the life of a for­eign labourer is very cheap.

There are oc­ca­sional Garth Marenghi mo­ments where the au­thor’s voice bleeds through into the in­te­rior mono­logues – a scene where some­one dis­misses “in­sipid” R& B in favour of Hut­son’s pals Iron Maiden is par­tic­u­larly amus­ing. And his dia­logue- heavy prose isn’t as art­ful as, say, Adam Nevill or Christo­pher Fowlers’s. But as gory easy- reads go, Mono­lith is very en­joy­able. Will Salmon The book also has a bonus short story: “Jin­gle Bells”, a Christ­mas tale with a pre­dictable – but amus­ing – punch­line.

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