Tuesday 4 May 2010

Hell's Belles, by Paul Magrs – reviewed

Brenda is on her honeymoon – she is now the Bride of Frankenstein (or at least his monster) in fact as well as name – and in her absence dark things begin to stir around the Whitby hellmouth. A cursed film, one whose every copy has supposedly been destroyed, is to be remade with its original star, the devastatingly attractive scream queen, Karla Sorenson. In Brenda's absence best friend Effryggia tries to hold the fort, but Robert is being kept up all night by a mysterious gentleman and new girl Penny is thrown into a temporary coma after finding a DVD of the original film in a charity shop.

After the brainspasms brought on by Magrs' brilliant Doctor Who novels like The Scarlet Empress, The Blue Angel and Mad Dogs and Englishmen, this was disappointingly lightweight and conventional, but not a bad book for all that. The short chapters made for an easy, unchallenging read, and it's clearly written as a commercial piece; from the cover one aimed squarely at the chick lit market. Its many revelations and reunions would have more impact on readers of the first three books; new to the series, I was left largely unmoved. It left me wanting to watch the Universal horror movies again, but ambivalent about reading another in this series.

Headline, tpb, 440pp.

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