Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Nursery by William W. Johnstone

The Nursery
by William W. Johnston
1983, Zebra Books

"What is this preoccupation with anal sex?"

You been liking those Devil books?  Good, here's pretty much the same thing, but with fewer werewolves and even more butt rape, if such a thing was possible.

Macho retired military man Mike Folsom returns home to Butler, Louisiana to find that folks aren't too friendly anymore.  He hooks up with small town girl Rana Carter, who slowly fills him in with the details.  The town has been taken over by millionaire philanthropist John Becker.  Folks attend his satanic church, he controls the police, the phone lines, and the roads.  Children are sent to re-education camps and come out different.

Oh, and by the way, they'll kill you if you try to leave.  Kind of buried the lede there.  Mike collects Rana's foul-mouthed daughter and his old high school friends who haven't turned to the dark side yet.  People hang out in the house and recap the same information to each other for a couple of hundred pages, with the occasional incestual butt rape scene to keep you awake.

Things pick up quickly when Mike figures out he's God's Warrior and starts mowing down teenagers in the street with an AK-47.  He attacks the titular nursery, which is a laboratory where stolen fetuses are grown in stolen uteri and brainwashed to hate God.  He heads out to Becker's mansion and kills the Old One, a semi-immortal demon type who has to go into Odinsleep wrapped up with a bunch of bodies to feed on.

The townsfolk become semi-comatose and have forgotten the last ten years.  The military moves in, and we're left with the chilling notion that brainwashed children are spread out through the country.

This is like the Mexican flea market version of the Devil series, and better for it.  Pretty much the same, with just enough differences to separate it from the series.  We've got yet another cowardly Catholic priest who ends up being centuries old.  There's a double agent working for the government who ends up being a ghost or an angel.  We've got Mike just knowing stuff, and even though he keeps it to a minimum he still manages to screw it up.  "This all ends in seventy two...I mean, twenty four hours."

No beasts this time around, and the undead are different.  Instead of being mindless vampires, they're more like spirits with extensive powers, such as the ability to teleport anywhere within the state lines of Louisiana.  The undead are more independent and split from Becket's control, using their newfound abilities to (altogether now) buttrape.

Happily, there are no scenes of God and Satan whining to each other, or much talk about cosmic rules.  Doesn't mean there isn't too much meaningless talking.  Johnstone could have had 300 pages of teenagers torturing old people and Mike Folsom shooting off crotches and I don't think anyone would complain.

The story is bookended with a page about children who can bring their stuffed animals to life, which is maybe setting up a sequel.  He does use the living stuffed animals idea again in Sweet Dreams, and from what I remember it involved buttrape.

The Nursery is only one of two Johnstone horror novels not to be re-released in Kindle.

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