Title - Hell Train
Author - Christopher Fowler
Year - 2012
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone
Pages - 319
Reading Time - January 2012
Imagine there was a supernatural chiller that Hammer Films never made. A grand epic produced at the studio’s peak, which played like a cross between the Dracula and Frankenstein films and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors...
Four passengers meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War, and face a mystery that must be solved if they are to survive. As the ‘Arkangel’ races through the war-torn countryside, they must find out:
What is in the casket that everyone is so afraid of? What is the tragic secret of the veiled Red Countess who travels with them? Why is their fellow passenger the army brigadier so feared by his own men? And what exactly is the devilish secret of the Arkangel itself?
Bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of travelling by train, all in a classically styled horror novel.
An Hammer production movie script meets Night Train & Strangers on a Train. This is what I say. I always enjoy watching Hammer films so when I read the synopsis of this book I had to read it. The first read of the year 2012. I had never read anything by this author and after reading this book I will try again I guess (If I have the time).
This story is a story within a story. The story is about a writer who has come from America to write a script for Hammer Production but the great chunk of the book is about the script itself that he wrote in a couple of days. I must say it was a nice tale and I good see it as a movie script. If Hammer productions had the money to do it. We get to see Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and that's always a joy.
The tale itself is set on the brink of WWI and four passangers embark on a train on their way to hell. They must confront their worst fears and battle it's residents.
Of course the writer wrote this as a tribute to Hammer films so you've got several stereotypes that are presented on the movies. The fatale female or the problematic vicar are two examples. Even the monsters are there. The writer even says that there is no problem with the budget because most of the set would be taken from other movies (like it was done in real hammer films).
In the end you will be satisfied with the book if you used to see the Hammer films. If you didn't you will want to see them. Nice book, nice characterization, nice plot. A good read.