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I've read several of Shaun Hutson's other books and have always found them to be shocking, gruesome, graphic and chilling. This book, Slugs, was only shocking in the sense that when compared to his usual high standard it falls embarrasingly short. Let me introduce you to the plot.....
The town drunk, Ron Bell, gets eaten by carnivorous slugs whilst in a drunken stupor. Merton's (the name of the town where all this is set) Health Inspector, Mike Brady, accompanies the council bailiffs to serve an eviction notice on Ron Bell as there have been complaints from neighbours about Ron's house and he is overdue on rent payments. Mike Brady discovers Ron's body, along with slug trails on and around the body.
Mike soon realises that slugs are probably responsible, but has a hard job convincing others in the town until some live specimens are presented by Mike to the town's museum curator, John Foley, as possible slug related killings continue. Mike feels they can't go to the police about the killer slugs for fear of ridicule, so between him, John and a further 'believer' in the form of council employee Effluent Operative Don Palmer, a plan is hatched that will hopefuly stop the slimy killers.
I won't divulge the end result of the plan to stop the slugs, plot spoilers are a no-no, instead I will leave you to guess who meets the stickiest of ends - the slugs or the town?
As I stated earlier, I've read other books by the same authour and have up untill now enjoyed his work. However, this book disappointed me and I found it to be limp, watered down and tepid when compared to his usual edgy and truly scary standard - this is the literary equivalent of a 'straight to DVD / only hardcore fans will buy this' film flop. I would go so far as saying that the horror element of the story was missing to such an extent that if a few tweaks were made to remove sexual references then the book could parade under the genre of childrens' thriller.
Disappointing, considering that normally when I read Shaun Hutson I am left feeling shocked, disturbed and genuinely scared by their content - horrific horror at it's best. My views on slugs haven't changed after reading this book - how many of us can say that we could swim fearlessly in the sea after reading / watching Jaws? A good horror story should leave it's mark on you - this story doesn't even leave a slug trail on the book shelf.