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BOOKLOONS - reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Slawter follows Lord Loss and The Demon Thief as the third book in the Demonata series, in which demons make regular incursions into our world, bringing the worst imaginable nightmares to reality - and this author has a pretty gruesome imagination.

Young Grubbs Grady has seen horror up close and personal when demon master Lord Loss slaughtered his parents and sister Gretelda. Now he lives with his uncle Dervish, a mage, in a macabre mansion. He's learned never to trust in fairy tales or happy endings, but knows that 'As long as you're breathing, your story's still going.' In earlier episodes, Grubbs befriended Bill-E Spleen and discovered that the latter is his half-brother. Then, he and Dervish took the battle to Lord Loss to save Bill-E from his werewolf heritage. This experience left Dervish comatose for more than a year, and with recurrent violent nightmares after he regained consciousness.

As this episode opens, the relative normality of their life is interrupted by two visitors. First comes Prae Athim, a member of the Lambs who've dealt with children who turn into werewolves through the ages - she wants to study Bill-E, to find out how he escaped his werewolf heritage after turning. Dervish says no, threatening her with the power of the Disciples (the first Grubbs has heard of them). Next, Dervish is approached by famed producer of horror flicks, Davida Haym, who wants him to consult on the monsters for her latest project, Slawter, about a town that's taken over by demons. Once Dervish agrees, the fun begins!

Bill-E and Grubbs join Dervish on set - in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere. They have tons of fun till filming begins, which is when the real demons start coming out of the woodwork, led by - who else? - Grubbs' nemesis, Lord Loss. There's plenty of action, blood, and gore, as hell erupts. The good guys just try to get out of there in one piece, saving as many innocents as they can. Along the way, our young hero - and the reader - learns more about the Disciples, and Grubbs rises to the occasion with very impressive magical moves. When it's all over, Dervish insists on testing Grubbs for magical abilities but finds nothing.

Can Grubbs settle down to a normal life? Not likely. Lord Loss wants revenge very badly. As Grubbs admits himself, 'This isn't over, not by a long shot.' If you're a fan of horror, you'll want to watch - over your shoulder - for the fourth in this very scary series, Bec, coming soon.





© Darren Shan 2005. All rights reserved.