Today, we bring you notice of TWO new reviews of John Llewellyn Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, the gruesome yet affectionate tribute to the films of Vincent Price. The first one can be found at the Classic Horror Campaign‘s website, and was written by Eric McNaughton – – just click here for that one.
The second one is from the magazine The Little Shoppe of Horrors and with the kind permission of the editor, Dick Klemenson, I reproduce it in full below. The review was written by Alan Wightman.
“Having read and thoroughly enjoyed this highly entertaining blood-soaked tale of murder, madness and macabre revenge, it’s obvious to me that author John Llewellyn Probert isn’t just a talented story-teller. It also stands out a mile that his knowledge of, and admiration for, ‘vintage’ ( i.e. pre-the torture porn & slasher craze of the last couple of decades ) horror films is second-to-none.
The story grabs the reader straight away, with the discovery of a badly-charred corpse, hanging from Bristol’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, high above the Avon Gorge. D.I. Jeffrey Longdon and his assistant Sergeant Jenny Newham are assigned to investigate and it doesn’t take them long to realise that this is the most bizarre case they’ve ever encountered.
While they’re looking for motives and clues, a second, even more bizarre death occurs, involving a hot air balloon and a unicorn. I’m not going to give you any more information about this murder or the ever-more inventive ones that follow, because if I do, knowing that LSOH readers are in the main, familiar with the great horror films of the 50s, 60s and 70s, before you go out and buy the book – which I would recommend – you might start piecing together clues and this would only spoil your enjoyment of what is, I promise you, a terrific read.
Not that you have to be a die-hard classic horror film aficionado to have fun reading it. It will appeal to anyone who likes a well-written thriller with an absorbing, page-turning (or Kindle-touching) storyline containing the odd moment of black humour along the way. It grips from page one.
That said, if like me you adore the films of Hammer; Amicus; Herman Cohen; Roger Corman; and the Unholy Three – Cushing, Lee & Price, whether you saw them when they were originally released; on fantastic re-release double-bills in the 1960’s – I have never forgotten seeing Circus Of Horrors & Horrors of The Black Museum together in a glorious sleaze-filled programme one Saturday afternoon circa 1965; or were first introduced to them on late night television – as was the case with the young John Llewellyn Probert – you will get so much additional pleasure out of this book I cannot tell you. You will love it!
I would recommend the hard-back edition, as it contains a bonus section entitled The Nine Films of Dr. Valentine, which, after you’ve finished the story, will provide extra reading pleasure.
Many of us watched old horror movies and simply enjoyed them. John didn’t just watch them. He absorbed them, stored them in his writers brain for years…and has now utilised those memories to craft an original, spine-tingling tale that should it ever be filmed, could well be regarded as a classic of the horror genre. I’ll be first in the queue to buy a ticket. “
Onwards and upwards!