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Tim Lebbon and Gavin Williams

Razorblade Press

UK Trade Paperback First

ISBN 0-9531468-5-5

213 Pages; £8.99/$15.00

Date Reviewed: 04-25-02

Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel




02-14-02, 04-25-02, 08-05-02, 12-13-02

Horror comes in different sizes. Some works are tight and personal, with a small cast and a closed setting. The implications of terror are individual. Other works of horror have a huge scale, where the stakes are the survival of hundreds, thousands, millions of people. The latter are particularly hard to pull off in a novel format. Scenes of mass death are difficult to pull off on the printed page. In 'Hush', Tim Lebbon and Gavin Williams try to balance the two scales of horror, offering a mass threat with a personalized scale of combat. It's big screen horror, mean to play in the mind's theater. The stakes are high, and the fighters are professionals in dealing with supernatural threats. But first they have to remember who they are.

'Hush' begins in close-up, focusing on Jacob and his demonstrations against animal experimentation. But things go rapidly awry, and Lebbon and Williams take the reader through the gritty demonstrations with an unpleasant aftermath. From the beginning, there's another reality and another identity intruding. And that reality, that identity is the key to the conflict that drives the novel. Lebbon and Williams don't play any games here. Before long Lovecraft and the creatures he feared are in the picture. Following that, reality itself is up for grabs. Jacob has a job to do, even if he must be kidnapped and forced to do it at gunpoint.

Lebbon and Williams work the room like pros, keeping the reader's eyes focused on unnerving, distinctive details while using them to build up a picture of evil on a truly grand scale. Philip K. Dickian masquerades reveal faceless beings and alternate dimensions, the potential for human suffering on a scale that the authors make all too real. But the novel is consistently and constantly grounded in human feelings and conflicts. Jacob and his friends have girlfriend problems, jobs, ideals, wounds. The mosaic of the novel is woven from remarkably detailed pieces.

'Hush' offers brooding paranoia, cosmic monsters and day-to-day life as pieces of a puzzle the reader puts together alongside the characters. The prose is never less than compelling, and the story is relentless. If you like your extra-dimensional invasions to have a personality, then you have only to listen to Lebbon and Williams in 'Hush'.