Book Review: Plague of the Manitou by Graham Masterton

23875138Title: Plague of the Manitou

Author: Graham Masterton

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Virus expert Anna Grey is disturbed when a dying patient is wheeled past her lab vomiting fountains of blood and screaming like a banshee. To make matters worse, when she examines the man s corpse, she could swear she hears him whisper: Get it out of me. John Patrick Bridges is dead. He s definitely dead. But if he s dead how is he talking?
Anna wonders if she s going mad. But then a second man haemorrhages and dies; yet Anna hears him whisper, Please help me.
There is no such thing as demons, Anna tells herself. But cynical fortune-teller Harry Erskine knows otherwise and a series of extremely disturbing events are forcing him from his Miami home towards the bereaved Anna, who as yet has little idea of the evil she is facing . ..

Plague of the Manitou, while not have a series number and appearing, at least from the description, to be a stand-alone, is in fact part of a larger series of books focusing on Harry Erskine, a man who faced evil before and somehow always got away. Despite it being part of a larger series, the book works quite well as a stand-alone.

Harry Erskine is a con-artist of sorts: he pretends to predict the future and read the tarot for old, rich ladies and gentlemen who have no other ways to spend their time and money. He happens to be right on almost all occassions, but he’s a bit skeptic when it comes to predicting the future, despite having been through some serious supernatural, twisted stuff before. These things are hinted at in the book but aren’t necessary to understand the book.

The book consists of two parts thrown together, and they don’t always mesh well. On the one hand, we have the story of  Anna Grey, a virus expert who is charged to defeat a virus that made a whole school ill. Then a man is wheeled past her lab vomiting fountains of blood, and dying within seconds. This makes Anna curious, as it’s unlike everything she’s ever seen, so she decides to investigates the man’s corpse, when he suddenly whispers to her. Anna blames it on being overstressed first, but when a second victim whispers to her post-mortem too, she realizes she’s not going mad, but something sinister is going on.

Meanwhile, Harry starts getting messages from an evil entity he defeated years ago, and nuns start showing up in his apartment. Not the friendly kind, but the dark, threatening, randomly-appearing-specters-wearing-nun-habits type. As he’s about to be kicked out of Miami for a crime he didn’t commit, his tarot cards have been changing on their own accord, and the nuns don’t exactly send him a confidence boost either, Harry decides to get the heck out of Miami.

There’s a lot of build-up, but ultimately it all falls a little flat. The ending was a bit predictable, and it didn’t really seem to match all the big build-up toward it. Both Anna and Harry felt a little bland, and not that easy to connect to.

I did enjoy the connection to viruses, Native American lore and Christian lore thrown together, and in general, the pacing was good too, right until the end, which felt rushed. My only complaint would be the two parts took too long to meet up, and even then it seemed to happen by accident mostly.


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