Carnacki:Ghostfinder (The New Investigations)
by William Meikle
Published by Ghostwriter Publications, 2009.
Sometimes I just love to get stuck into a great big book (thank you Stephen King) but at other times you can't beat a short punchy ( and pulpy) story. Ghostwriter Publications with their Penny Dreadful range are filling a large gap in the market. Previously these stories would only have been available through short story collections but now we get the chance to purchase single stories, attractively presented, by some excellent authors at very reasonable rates.
William Meikle is a pulp master and surely one of the most prolific horror writers on the Scottish scene with around 14 of these chapbooks already published in the Penny Dreadful range and more seemingly released on a daily basis.
The Carnacki collection comprises three William Meikle stories : The Larkhill Barrow, The Blooded Iklwa and The Sisters of Mercy (although disappointingly this is not about the late eighties Goth band). Star of all three books is of course Thomas Carnacki. As I am sure you will know Carnacki was an invention of William Hope Hodgson and was something of a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Ghostbusters. Fans will be glad to know that William Meikle's Carnacki is a faithful reproduction (even the rainbow coloured electric pentacle survives intact).
The Larkhill Barrow sees Carnacki called in to assist the army who appear to have disturbed something deep in an ancient burial mound during exercises. It's an excellent ripping yarn as Carnacki's strange theories meet the armies much more conventional thinking.
The Blooded Iklwa sees an ancient zulu menace transported to Edinburgh by a soldier out to get revenge. Again it's a fast paced adventure mixing ancient traditions with Carnacki's strange brilliance.
In The Sisters Of Mercy a London hospital is haunted by ancient witchcraft. Carnacki sets about defeating the evil with new and even more bizarre equipment.
So three short stories each beautifully presented with full colour glossy covers and each a thrilling Carnacki adventure told by a master pulp writer. Yes they are short, yes they are pulpy but I for one am a fan and will be investigating more in the series soon.
Rating 4 out of 5