Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Manitou - Graham Masterton

The Manitou
by Graham Masterton
1976 Pinnacle Books

A woman has a tumor on the back of her neck that ends up being the quickly developing fetus of an Indian shaman from hundreds of years ago.  It takes our phony fortune telling protagonist half the novel to figure this out, via trips to the library and talking to various experts.  This is how narratives were padded out before Google.

Phony fortune teller gets a modern Indian to do a magic showdown in the hospital and stuff finally gets going.  There was an obscure little film in the 70s that had a similar situation involving priests and possessions - I had forgotten the title, but luckily Masterton reminded me it was the frickin' Exorcist.  This kind of stuff is bad enough on the back cover, but if it's 3/4ths into the book, they've bought the damn thing already.

Now things finally get moving, with demons and spirits and orderlies being turned inside out and cops being frozen and chopped into pieces.  Luckily there's lots of exposition and repeating exposition to other characters to slow things down.

I'm not sure if this would have worked as a short story, but there needed to be something other than research and exposition to fill out the non-"tearing bodies to pieces" parts out, a subplot or something.
Since we're dealing with magic, and we've ridden the crazy train this far, I don't blame the silly and rushed ending.  A quick and fun read, but even at it's short length it feels padded.

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