Review of ‘Walkers’ by Graham Masterton

A rather terrifying novel which will keep you awake. I had read one Graham Masterton book previously, in 2004 – House of Bones, which is for a YA audience and even re-uses a concept from Walkers but is not as gruesome.

Walkers has some similarities to The Shining (the main character is even called Jack) and The Exorcist. I don’t read a lot of horror, or else I’m sure there would be more comparisons to make. There doesn’t seem to be a film adaptation. I think now that special effects technology is so excellent, this could be a good film.

The premise of the novel is that Jack is drawn to a large creepy building which used to be an institution for the criminally insane. He wants to turn it into a hotel. However, his son goes missing inside the building and things quickly become weird.

This book feels quite dated in its social attitudes, but if you decide to ignore that, it’s an addictive read which I thought was genuinely scary. It was more graphic than I would have liked and I’m not sure I would read any more from this author.

The blurb was perhaps a little misleading, as it sounds like the asylum is the focus of the book. The asylum itself was not that frightening, it was the people who had been locked up there. Quite a large part of the story is not set there, anyway. A different kind of story would have got more use out of the setting.

First published in 1989. UK edition first published in 1991, this edition by Head of Zeus, 2021.

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