‘Deathbell’ – Guy N. Smith (Hamlyn)


Now I’m starting to go back into the office a little more, my reading seems to be naturally gravitating towards short reads that I can polish off over the bus ride to and from work. This inevitably means that I read more Guy N. Smith which isn’t really a big chore 😉 Smith was very good at saying what he needed to in around two hundred pages (give or take a few) and seems to be what I’m good for on my commute.

My journey to read as much of Guy N. Smith’s horror as I can get my hands on, outside of the ‘Crabs’ books, continues with ‘Deathbell’; one of those books that I jumped on the second I saw it for an affordable price. Seriously… It’s not a cheap book but a little bit of patience paid off in the end and I grabbed it before anyone else could. And then ‘Deathbell’ came to work, and back, with me yesterday where it did everything it could to make my commute a little easier to bear. Did it succeed? Of course it did… 😉

The villagers of Turbury were intrigued by the new arrivals at Caelogy Hall. For years the deserted mansion has crumbled behind its eight-foot walls, brooding over the terrible tragedies which had happened there.

The latest owner seemed very odd. Martyn Hamilton hid away his wife and Chinese servant-girl behind padlocked gates. Intruders were made unwelcome and a savage dog roamed the grounds.

The it started to sound, the curious oriental bell that Hamilton had specially installed in the old belfry. When it’s soft tones were heard one evening, the villagers stopped to listen… and grew afraid. From that moment, their fate was sealed. Day after day, the bell tolled its sinister message. People began to sicken and die. Violence, rape and murder convulsed the quiet community.

After his mother’s horrifying death, Julian Dane returns to Turbury… and what he finds there makes him determined to uncover the foul secret of the Deathbell…

You’ve probably gathered from the blurb already but if not, I’ll confirm. ‘Deathbell’ has scenes of rape in it so do bear that in mind if you’re thinking of picking it up for a read. Also, everyone is susceptible to the bell and no-one dies easily. You might want to bear that in mind as well.

On to the book itself and it was just the book I was after for the commute. The plot is pretty straightforward and the stakes are clear; every time the bell chimes people die so it has to be stopped. It’s not that easy though and so we get a procession of deaths, and general bloody havoc, in the meantime. And as is normal, Guy N. Smith really lays it on thick with some pretty vile stuff happening, the kind of stuff where you’re hoping that no-one is reading over your shoulder but you carry on reading anyway because damn, Smith really knows how to draw your attention in and then keep it. There is a little more to it though, than just grim death, with a mystery that is teased out over the course of the book and revealed at just the right moment to get you thinking about what you read and whether or not it has been cast in a whole new light. I’m half and half on that one… It has but… It also hasn’t, all at the same time. That’s not a bad thing in itself as I’m clearly still thinking about it. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Dane hunt those clues down a little more thoroughly (the estate agent knew the whole time…) but that is a minor quibble really.

‘Deathbell’ may not give you anything new but if you’re already  fan then that’s not really going to bother you too much. I knew what I was getting and I wasn’t disappointed. A mystery to be solved and bloody death in all the right places; just what I needed to wake me up before I got to the office. 

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