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Book Review

Spotlight on: Witch Spell by Guy N. Smith

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Buy Witch Spell by Guy N. Smith Guy N. Smith, Witch Spell

Fans of Richard Laymon should seek out the works of British author Guy N. Smith. Smith offers the same focus on sex and violence to draw in the reader, and the same ability to keep you reading in spite of some almost-silly plot contrivances.

Though best known for his two series of novels that began with Werewolf by Moonlight (two sequels) and Night of the Crabs (five sequels), Smith has peopled Witch Spell entirely with ... people. Bobbie Wheeler is the sixteen-year-old result of the pairing of a white-magic witch (her mother Yvonne) and a Satanic black-magician (her father Alec), who divorced when neither was willing to change their beliefs.

Bobbie was raised by her mother in the meantime, but now at boarding school, her father's influence (which grows even stronger after his death) is taking hold. Bobbie begins to exercise her previously unknown talents for seduction and murder in order to "deny Christ and glorify Satan," recruiting other members of the faculty and student body (by skillfully using her own student body) in the process.

Most of Witch Spell is just that: Bobbie's promise of sex and use of violence to gain and keep her followers, who gather for sacrifices and orgies a number of times during the novel. Smith's intent is not to write the next great classic, but simply to offer a diversion from mundane reality, a task at which he succeeds admirably.

As an added bonus, Smith has a healthy sense of humor that comes through in some satirical, pulpy tendencies. Where some authors would attempt to avoid melodrama, Smith embraces it and asks you to laugh along with him. (After all, can a book that focuses on the struggle between the followers of Christ and Satan be anything but melodramatic by its very nature?) Witch Spell is a tight little story, well told by an author who was already a twenty-year "veteran of terror" (the tagline from the cover) when it was told. (His take on Writing Horror Fiction is a short but widely encompassing read, as well.)

This review was originally published in somewhat different form in Down in the Cellar. Copyright 2007. Reprinted with permission.

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