Graham Masterton is a writer with an extensive career who has written books on sexual self-help as well as romantic fiction in the past. He is best known, however, for his work in the horror genre and has written a complete shed load of novels in this category; some good, some brilliant and some absolutely awful. In this respect, he can be compared to Dean Koontz, who also believes in throwing enough poo at the wall and some of it will stick, thopugh Masterton is much gorier and nastier!
Manitou Blood falls into the category of being good but nothing amazing and is another book in the Harry Erskine series; one of two that Masterton has continued over the years, the other being The Night Warriors series of which I recently reviewed the latest installment.
Erskine is earning a comfortable but not brilliant living at reading people's fortunes through a mixture of Palmistry, Tarot and mediocre psychic ability. His latest client complains of recurring bad dreams in which he is stuck in a coffin on a boat amidst chanting in a foreign language. Erskine gives him a slightly less than helpful demonstration of his work then sends him on his way without a second thought. But when Harry then hears of the same dream being discussed on the news in conjunction with an epidemic sweeping New York, he begins to think bigger things are at foot.
A disease is rapidly spreading through the city that causes its victims to drink human blood and retreat from sunlight. The city is in chaos and only Harry and his Native American spirit guide seem to realise that whatever is happening originates from disturbances in the spiritual world rather than the physical. Together with some helpful assistance from a Romanian bombshell, Harry sets out to put a stop to the plague and prevent his city from sprialling out of control......but is there more afoot than at first appears?
Anyone who has read a Harry Erskine novel before will not find many surprises in this as it has pretty much a by-the-numbers plot that follows on from previous events in this series. You don't have to have read the others, though that will help you understand certain aspects, and it is probably an advantage if you haven't as you are likely to enjoy this more! Those of us with previous expereience of this character may feel as though they have seen it all before and though we get a different slant on the vampire myth, it is not really all that great a story.
As we have come to expect from Masterton, there are some seriously nasty moments in this novel though maybe not quite as many as normal. Early scenes that see victims vomiting up huge amounts of other people's blood quite turned my stomach and made me gag and it doesn't get much nicer than that. Still, this is fairly average fare from someone who, over the years, has continued to be one of my favourite authors despite his erratic track record in quality. One does have to wonder if this latest novel is just a money-making enterprise with little love involved and that is a shame as Harry Erskine deserves better treatment in my eyes. This could just as well have been a stand-alone novel with a little careful editing and it almost feels as though Masterton is trying a bit too hard to bring loyal fans who have stepped away from his novels back into the fold!
Still worth a read....it's just this didn't unfortunately blow me away!