The Wash was a vast area of mud, quicksand and dangerous tides. Although beautiful from a distance, especially during the summer when the sun sparkled in the morning mist, it was unquestionably Britain’s most inhospitable location.
But love blooms even in the most unlikely places. Just ask Gavin and Liz Royle. Back in 1975, the two young academics fell in love while on a treasure hunt in the treacherous marshland. They never found their hidden booty but they found each other.
They also found the Slime Beast, a reptilian-like swamp creature that slurped human viscera like Nissin Top Ramen. Yum! After a series of grisly murders (and lurid subplots), the gill-man was vanquished in a fiery showdown (see my review of The Slime Beast for more details). Gavin and Liz returned to London, got married, started a family and lived happily ever after. The end.
Now on their 40th wedding anniversary, the couple inexplicably returns to the Wash. Liz thinks it’ll be romantic. Gavin, on the other hand, thinks his wife is daft. Why couldn’t they spend a nice relaxing weekend in Cornwall or Devon or some other sunny vacation spot? Why did they have to return to a place where monsters dwell?
Naturally, things get messy right away. And stinky too. “An overpowering, suffocating smell assailed (Gavin’s) nostrils. Not human excrement or urine, something a thousand times worse. It was the scent of the Slime Beast, a fetid odour incorporating everything that was vile and evil, a putrescence unknown to mankind.”
Gavin knows immediately that another Slime Beast is on the prowl. In tow with a reluctant wildfowling guide, and armed with a satchel of ineffective weapons, he vows to slay the “slime-oozing Satan.” There’s no time for preparation or strategy, the novel is only 111-pages long. Conflict and resolution occur swiftly, and Gavin knows he’s got to hurry before the final chapter arrives.
Fans of the first Guy N. Smith adventure will undoubtedly be interested in this sequel. I definitely was. But honestly, there’s no space for a second (or third) Slime Beast novel on my bookshelf. One is enough. Despite a couple of delightfully horrid moments (and a funny bit about giant crabs), the author doesn’t have anything particularly new or substantive to say. The spawn is no different than the progenitor.
[Spawn of the Slime Beast / By Guy N. Smith / First Printing: June 2015 / ISBN: 9781907846878]