A new novel from Graham Masterton is always something of an event, despite the almost constant stream of novels he releases. He has been writing popular bestselling horror novels for longer than Stephen King, and is still writing no holds barred horror to this day. The bestselling days are unfortunately in the past, horror is far past its popularity peak, to such an extent that authors such as Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton find it more and more difficult to get their novels published in the UK. Fortunately though, Masterton hasn't reduced the quality of his output. His books tend to be very hard to put down and this is no exception, its a story of a man going to England to find more about the violent death of his sister, who's mutilated body is found in the Thames.
It is quite calm and toned down for a Masterton novel, especially considering some of his recent ones, and as usual he does an excellent job of tying a story to a series of old nursery rhymes, explaining their origins in very imaginative and believable ways. Amongst his multitude of novels, this easily numbers amongst one of the greats. With parallel worlds and terrifying puritans haunting this and many other Londons, striking terror into the inhabitants and acting with utmost brutality. When this brutality comes, and it does after the disarming quiet first half of the novel, it is quite a shock. Not going as far as he has in the past, but shocking enough to disturb those less use to Masterton's brand of horror. It's not that it's particularly visceral, just cold and clinical which makes it all the more powerful. Nerve shredding, rather than just stomach churning. He's no splatter merchant, but uses these scenes as a way to turn up the tension. Not for the faint of heart.
Masterton is another author with his own voice, completely unafraid to do all out supernatural horror and all the better for it. Too many authors these days are afraid to do anything other than "Scooby Do" style, man-in-a-rubber-mask style horror, and that gets tiresome very quickly. Especially with all the plot holes you could drive a forklift truck through. Masterton writes excellent horror novels which bring in elements of mysticism, fantasy and science fiction, and meld them into a satisfying whole. The thing that killed horror more than anything else was probably a dirth of imagination, and imagination is something that he has in buckets.