Written on: 17/06/2009 by Dreadlocksmile (358 reviews written)
First published back in 1980, Guy N Smith had by then fully established himself within the pulp horror circuit. Moving away from his 'when creatures attack' inspired splatterpunk novels, 'Satan's Snowdrop' delivered a haunting tale with a dark and disturbing storyline.
Principally set within the eerie backdrop of 'La Masison des Fleurs' - 'The House of Flowers', a large wooden mansion located close to the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. The property has been recently purchased by the Pennant family who plan to live in the property for a short while before having it laboriously taken drown and shipped piece by piece to Long Island to be erected once again in a more homely environment for the Pennant's to either inhabit or sell on for an impressive mark-up.
During the brief time the family spend in the house before it is shipped back, the family are subjected to a number of creepy and seemingly unexplainable occurrences, that take on a greater level of hostility with each occurrence. Starting off with a simple recurring stench of putrefaction that wafts throughout the house on random occasions, the hauntings take on a more deadly reality, with the unexpected death of a friend who was staying over after a welcoming party at the house. The hauntings then take on a more human element, with visitations of ghostly figures crying out for help and the figure of a man who excretes a pure evil appearing on regular occasions.
Veronica Pennant has witnessed too much already. Their son Tod Pennant is equally scared of the macabre house, but Al Pennant, whose hard work and effort has led to the purchase of the property, is determined to see the restoration and re-location through to the end. After coming face to face with one of the visitations himself, Al Pennant decides to take his family back to the States for the winter and return in springtime to make sure the re-location goes smoothly.
With the disassembly of the house now fully underway, the workmen are subjected to the evil that seems so powerfully present within 'La Masison des Fleurs'. One workman is killed in a seemingly freak accident scaring the other labourers away from the job. Pennant successfully secures a new firm of workmen to see through the property's re-location and all is finally set for the house to be re-built in Long Island. As the last of 'La Masison des Fleurs' is taken down the secret burial place of the Reichenbach torture victims is unearthed from underneath the property's foundations.
After the dramatic death of their son Tod at the hands of the evil in the house, Veronica attempts to take her own life, leaving Al Pennant finally deciding to sell the freshly re-located property to the one person he knows who will take it - Bruce Parlane.
The house is once again disassembled and this time shipped over to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Bruce and his family move in. After a while the house begins to reveal its dark and evil underside once again. The house's history that subjected it to the most horrific evil known to mankind at the hands of Reichenbach family has left its mark on the very fibre of the building. This evil that had soaked into the fabric of 'La Masison des Fleurs', has allowed the Nazi torturer, who died at the hands of one of his victims, to once again walk the floorboards of this macabre house. And now a brand new family are taking up residence in 'La Masison des Fleurs'. Their fate is almost sealed...
From the very outset, Smith delivers a disturbingly dark undertone to the progressing storyline that successfully projects an uneasy air to every occurrence, no matter how mundane.
The mounting tension is second to none, with each glimpse of the evil lurking behind the novel's macabre location delivering a haunting punch to the reader. When the evil visitations come, they come with impact. Smith unleashes a no holds barred approach to these ghostly presences, mixing in an eerie supernatural situation with pure splatterpunk delivery. Many moments throughout the tale are quite shocking in places, with graphic depictions of torture leaving a vivid imprint of the evil that lies behind the four walls of the house.
As the story unfolds further, with deaths becoming more frequent as more people are subjected to the house, Smith keeps up a fast paced and tightly written storyline full of dramatic surprises.
With the novel building in tension with each turn if the page, the suspense mounts up to a mighty crescendo at the novel's grande finale. A dramatic and twisted ending ensues, with Smith unleashing a truly inspired yet deeply disturbing conclusion.
For the sheer love of unashamed pulp horror that this novel emits from each page, this is truly a fantastic piece of horror literature. The additional elements of the symbolic snowdrop give the tale further levels that keep drawing the reader into this haunting tale.
The characters are lifelike throughout, with a great level of care taken to forming and developing each ones individualistic traits.
This is certainly a strong contender for the highlight of this ridiculously prolific writers career. Even the cover artwork maintains the symbolic and dark quality that surrounds this creepy book. All in all this is a non-stop ride through hell that will keep you gripped to the tale from start to finish.
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