| 28 April 2010 | Amanda Craig
I made the mistake of telling my kids (fans of Shan) the plot of this novel on a long boring car journey and it freaked them out so much they had nightmares. This is defintely for teenagers, and ones with strong stomachs, because it's about a stroppy boy, Grubbs, who comes home unexpectedly and finds he has opened the door to Hell, where three horrific demons have killed his parents and big sister in a welter of blood and nastiness. Grubb escapes, and pf course when he gets to the police everyone believes he's insane, and that Lord Loss and his sidekicks Artery and Vein, are projections of his imagination. Only when his uncle Dervish visits him in the asylum and shows him a drawing of Lord Loss does Grubb begin to understand why his family were so obsessed with playing chess, and the curse which lies on them all - including his new friend and half-brother. Like a first-rate slasher movie, this is a book you can't tear your eyes away from. It's got a cracking plot, and cinematic pace and a prose style that would be swarming with flies if it were a piece of meat. I was one of Shan's earliest fans, but this is even better than his vampire opera.
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