I’m appropriating Mondays for short reviews of my summer reads (I’m behind in reviewing all the books I’d like to review) and my weekly preview.
What I’ve Read
The Manitou by Graham Masterton
It only grows at night. Karen Tandy was a sweet and unassuming girl until she discovers the mysterious lump growing underneath her skin. As the doctors and specialists are puzzling over the growth, Karen’s personality is beginning to drastically change. The doctors decide there is only one thing to do, cut out the lump. But then it moved. Now a chain reaction has begun and everyone who comes in contact with Karen Tandy understands the very depths of terror. Her body and soul are being taken over by a black spirit over four centuries old. He is the remembrance of the evils the white man has bestowed on the Indian people and the vengeance that has waited four hundred years to surface. He is the Manitou. (via Goodreads)
The Incredible Erskine is by his own admission a fraudulent medium. He makes a very good living “reading” tarot for little old ladies. When Karen Tandy visits him to find out about the nightmares she’s been having and for reassurance about her upcoming surgery (to remove a strange lump on the back of her neck), his quiet con becomes spookily real. It’s in this early section of The Manitou that the book shines. As readers, we’re on board with regular guy Erskine as things turn personally creepy. Unfortunately, once Karen is in the hospital, the story becomes less and less personal to Erskine as more and more doctors and real psychics are brought in to confer on the case. The ending veers into cosmic horrors, which I’m finding to be my least favorite flavor of the genre.
The Manitou is part of the Obscure Literary Monster list, but again I kind of wonder at JW McCormack’s summary:
Misquamacus is an Indian spirit…that takes possession of a fetus so as to exact vengeance on the white man; so far, so good but the problem is that Misquamacus doesn’t wait to grow up, but just goes for it after charging out of his mother-host’s uterus. A truly malevolent fetus, his rampage doesn’t get much farther than the nursery but deserves massive points for effort.
A fetus “charging out” of a uterus and wreaking supernatural havoc is an unsettling concept, at least to a woman. But even according to the Goodreads still-not-very-accurate blurb, that’s not what happens in this book. Written in 1975, the book full of smoking in hospitals and references to the Red Indians. It’s alternately cringe-worthy and chuckle-inducing. Oh, the 70s…
What I’m Reading This Week
I’ve been itching to get back to some magic-oriented reading, but the thought of Linking Rings on the 10 Books of Summer list was not enticing to me. Instead, I’m switching it out for The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick by Peter Lamont. That, along with Girl Meet Class by Karin Gillespie and more of the Best Horror of the Year.
We’re heading to Colorado later this week for an ultimate frisbee tournament and then on to Omaha for a week. I have some posts planned and hopefully I’ll be back, ready, and refreshed in August.