independent.co.uk | 04 December 2005 | Amanda Craig
[this is a review of the "Lord Loss" Audio Book CD] Darren Shan's Lord Loss (HarperCollins £14.99, read by Rupert Degas) will open up the pit of hell. This is a very, very scary book - don't let kids under 13 read or listen to it, it really will freak them out. Our narrator, Grubbs Grady, seems to be just another stroppy teenager, moaning about his mum, his sneaky older sister and being punished for smoking. But why are his family obsessed by chess, and why is he sent away one night? He finds out when he sneaks home to find them horrifically eviscerated by the demons of Lord Loss, who has a pact with his family to play chess for their souls. You don't need the creepy drum effects, the female voices wailing and the usual deep echoing Satanic voice to have your hair standing on end. Shan's talent for imagining what could scuttle out of Hell - a baby with mouths on its hands, a scalp crawling with cockroaches and a heart filled with snakes - and then making it fiendishly funny is dazzling. For kids who want a different kind of nightmare before, during and after Christmas, this is the one to keep them spellbound.
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