Filler content with the touch

A review that appeared on the old TTA website back in the in-between years:-

Solaris paperback, 672pp, £7.99

When Ben Trask and the talents of E-Branch investigate the case of a grotesquely deformed corpse it’s the start of an affair that will bring them into conflict with the Mordri Three, alien philosophers who destroy inhabited planets in their attempt to provoke God to respond and prove His existence, and Earth is next on their to do list. Posing as faith healers they amass huge sums of gold, while an army of slaves work on their spacecraft at Schloss Zonigen in the Swiss Alps. Fortunately another alien is on hand to help stop the Mordri’s plan, as is Scott St John, a young man with a personal grudge against one of the Three, who appears to have inherited the powers of the Necroscope. With E-Branch on site to deal with the human threat, a band of heavily armed mercenaries, the battle for Schloss Zonigen and the survival of mankind begins in earnest.

In the abstract this all sounds rather fanciful, but in fact it works rather well, with Lumley throwing as much weirdness as he can at the page, to produce an exciting and fast paced narrative, packed with surprises and plentiful bang for our buck. There are scenes of wonder to amaze and moments of poignancy, as Scott learns to control his new powers and comes to terms with the tragedies of the past, his wife’s terrible death and the emotional estrangement of his father. There is gore to turn the stomach, as the Three exercise their power to distort living flesh, and edge of the seat battles on both the physical and psychic planes. There are three larger than life villains, with a shared madness that eclipses planets, and an equally memorable trio of heroes to take them to the cleaners. And there is a nail biting climax in which it seems things could go either way.

Okay, this is not great SF or Horror by any stretch of the imagination, but it is damned fine entertainment, by a writer who’s paid his dues and knows how to deliver the goods. Harry Keogh may be dead, always a negotiable state in genre fiction, but his spirit lives on in Scott St John and the talents of E-Branch, and if The Touch is anything to go by there’s plenty of life left in the Necroscope franchise.

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