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The Crack Magazine


Minstrel’s Bargain

Richard Ayre, Bloodhound Books, £8.99

My ‘Unwieldy Prose’ alarm was ringing from the first sentence of this novel: “The Boeing 748 turned in the sky and started in on its final approach to Newcastle…” (Why not: “The Boeing 748 turned in the sky and started its final approach to Newcastle…”?), but I persevered and, despite the clumpy nature of some of the writing, discovered an exciting, and gruesome, horror story set in late 80s Newcastle. Our hero is reporter Phil Sturgess whose interested has been piqued by an up and coming rock band who play music that seems to have a strange hold over its listeners (a notion that would go down well among those self-appointed moral guardians in the US, who claim to be able to hear Satan sneezing when you play certain guitar solos backwards). The rock scene provides a fertile ground for a good old horror romp, and the author gives it both barrels here with plenty of graphic killings and a whole load of intrigue thrown into the mix, which keeps the pot bubbling nicely.