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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Trick or Treat?

The Trickster - Muriel Gray

Ms. Gray used to be (is?) a television and radio presenter for the BBC.  I remember her in the good old '80s on The Tube trying to make the likes of The Jam and Sigue Sigue Sputnik behave for British telly viewers.  Anyway the multi-talented Ms. Gray turned her hand to horror novels for a bit and Trickster, the first, is probably the best of the trio she wrote.  Muriel is from Scotland but that didn't stop her from taking on a novel set in Alberta, Canada and largely based around native Indian folk mythology and trying to make it all believable and entertaining.  I thought at 707 pages this was going to get dull somewhere with all the minutiae involved but it never did.   The suspense was maintained throughout.  

 

The characters were where the writing excelled.  The author presented great depth and empathy in a large cast of characters.  The novel had a lot of flashbacks and these really  presented a novel within a novel, particularly the 1907 interludes, were almost as important and suspenseful as the "main" contemporary story line.

 

I'm not big on North American bogeymen like the Wendigo but the adversary here, the Trickster, is every bit as menacing as Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror.  The menace is of the older than old type so it predates all mythologies and is sort of susceptible to all sorts of exorcisms but in our modern scientific times few remain who know how to trick the Trickster so to speak.  Sam Hunt, who denies his Indian heritage, is going to have to step up big time if anyone is going to get this thing back in Pandora's box.  But he has his young son, an old drunk, his wife, and a skeptical police officer to help so this should be no problem.  Oh and there is the blizzard of the century to deal with as well.

 

Well at least he has a better chance of getting the jin back in the bottle than Scottish preacher James Henderson does in 1907.  Someone keeps letting this guy out!

 

Be careful with editions here.  The icy cover is a greatly edited version of the novel.  The real deal is the big fat green covered paperback.