A 5,000-year-old Irish demoness is released from her burial mound in the countryside around seaside Kilgallan—and swims like spirochetes into the reader's brain. Scottish author Donnelly (in his first US publication) dumps out the worst he can dream up and—with his many graphically messy and pulpy deaths—brings a new grisliness to the horror novel. This is no book for kids under 30. The story: some archaeologists uncover a mysterious tomb in the Kilgallan hillside and in doing so unlock the prison of a shapeless black demoness, the Shee, who was imprisoned there millennia ago by the hero Cuchullain. Now Kilgallan is swept by monstrous murders. People (the luckier ones) get their heads eaten or sucked off—and so that there will be plenty of reader-identifiable folks to do away with later, a bevy of villagers, scientists, and reporters is fed into the tale early on. A mother suckling her newborn slowly smothers the child between her breasts. Another suckling mother suddenly can't pull her baby from her breast as the baby grows teeth, sucks out, bites off and gobbles down the whole inside of her breast—before really satisfying its hunger. A young woman teaching her nephew to swim in a stream strips naked and trapping the boy between her breasts drowns him amid orgasms. These incidents might be retold in a family newspaper. But Donnelly soon slips into a rotting and drippingly pustuled ghoulishness, a picnic of diseased, grabbing, pullulating vulvas. Traveling reporter Liz Cannon has photog Sean McCullain with her to eke out some feature stories in mild Kilgallan. But Sean has bad dreams, sees himself as Cuchullain. Then Shee starts snacking unstoppably and brings in waves of creepy-crawlies, spiders, giant man-eating eels, and a tsunami, before Sean finds himself armed against her with the sword of the Lord of Light. Well written, yes—if you like lapping up pus and maggots for fun.
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