By John Llewellyn Probert
Spectral Press, out now
Dr Valentine is back – and he’s got a new target for his hatred…
John Llewellyn Probert’s sequel to his 9 Deaths of Dr Valentine is as much fun as the original, with the added advantage that this time both readers and police know who’s behind the crimes, and quite early on can deduce where he’s deriving his inspiration from.
Probert has a very large canon from which to choose for the grisly deaths that Valentine inflicts on his latest set of victims – the real-world reasons for some of the choices are given in the appendix – and there are some old favourites here, as well as items from the less well known movies to emanate from the studio. It’s Valentine who has an assistant this time around, rather than police inspector Longdon (who’s called back to assist with the enquiries, and is as cantankerous as ever), and there are some intriguing hints as to her identity. There’s a lovely tribute to one of the best directors from Doctor Who’s early days here as well.
Once again, Probert skilfully creates the lives of Valentine’s targets, showing us the crimes from their points of view, with more than a few digs at their profession. My only minor niggle is that Dr Valentine repeats himself rather with the death of a family man – I must admit that I was expecting some comment from him in the final confrontation to that effect – but overall this does what all good film sequels needs to do: recreates the original but adds its own little twists.
Verdict: No need to hammer the point home – Dr Valentine is carving a niche for himself in the annals of horror fiction. 8/10