Release Date: 05/07/12
In a quiet field in Buckinghamshire, a huge crack has appeared in the earth's surface. And people are dying. Incinerated beyond recognition. At the same time, hospitals have noticed an increase in catastrophic deformities in foetuses, and cancer levels soaring. Dr Adam Royston, a scientist working at the nearby military base, thinks he knows what it is; a creature as old as the earth that slumbers for centuries, then wakes to feed on the energy and radiation produced by humans. But if he's right, and they can't find a way to destroy the creature roaming the countryside, then it's not just Buckinghamshire that could be in danger, but the whole world.
Part of the problem when you bring a book up to date from an earlier time is that the things that scared the viewer back then is something that can be quite tame by todays standard. Such is the case with this adaptation of the Hammer 1956 film X: The Unknown where radiation is the fear of the day.
Sadly by bringing it forward to today’s setting a lot of what was assumed back then has sadly bitten the dust in not only theory but has been blasted into oblivion by fact. That alone took the book well out of the realms of believability which whilst you can suspend whilst watching the film sadly just niggles the reader.
Whilst Shaun’s writing is a highlight for the publisher, as a reader I was sadly hoping for a lot more than was actually presented as this book felt flat not only in the subject matter but also with the characters within that weren’t fleshed out enough for me to care for them as a reader. All in a great shame.
Release Date: 05/07/12
He is raising the poker again and Anna bites her lower lip so hard she chokes a little in the blood that runs down her throat...On a cold, wet night recently widowed psychology lecturer John Pritchard visits spiritualist Aida Golding with his son. Although wary something has driven him here. And he is drawn to a troubled young woman who is trying to contact her child. Something about her intrigues him and despite his doubts he continues to attend meetings. One night at an intimate seance in Aida's house the lights go out and one of the group is brutally murdered. John has his suspicions but he can't prove anything. He senses that Aida has some hold over the girl and he offers her a place of refuge in his home. But the past haunts Anna in the most chilling of ways. And all too soon John realises he's made a terrible mistake...
I’m always a little dubious when a film is novelised, especially when the film is something of a British Classic from the Hammer studio’s whilst the book has been brought up to date to appeal to a modern audience part of the problem for the reader is the loss of the Victorian courtesies that allowed the film to feel organic, with the roles being carefully fleshed out Eric Porter and Angharad Rees.
Sadly this book fell short of what I would have expected not only on a title based on the film but of the talent to which we know he has as we’ve read quite a bit of his material. The characters were sadly 2d, the pace sadly lacking and all in the book really felt that it should have been left where it was to allow the film to stand on its own merit. Hopefully other Hammer books will do a better job of adaptation than this but with a well-known author falling flat, that does leave me wondering if it’s really going to be worth my time.