Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Quorum Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Kim Newman

Published By Titan Books



In the polluted River Thames, a monster is born.  Formed of filth and grime, Derek Leech emerges from the murky depths, destined to found a global media empire.

In 1978, three school friends with high aspirations - Michael, Mark and Mickey - are offered a deal by the mysterious magnate.  If they agree their future wealth will be ensured, but they must offer Leech a sacrifice in return, a conspiracy of lifelong pain against their absent friend, Neil.

Accepting the terms, the men prosper over the next fifteen years.  But as the era of excess comes to an end, the trio must pay the price for their success, and they soon discover that fame and fortune is a fate worse than death.

A brand-new edition of the critically acclaimed novel, featuring five short stories by the award-winning author.


I have to admit that while I enjoy Kim Newman's novels, I don't really buy in to him as being a master of horror or that his stories are spine chillers that will stay with you long after you have finished the book.  Instead, I think that the books are well written and good for what they are.  A spooky read that sometimes has a moral message beneath the story.

This one is one of those stories.  While yes, it is indeed critically acclaimed, I found myself a little bored during parts of it.  The story itself is well written for the most part but I just didn't click with the story as well as I hoped I would.

Some of that is down to the characters themselves.  If you are going to have four main characters then you need to make them all as different and with as unique personalities as you possibly can.  I accept that's no easy task but here, there were a couple of times that I lost the plot of the story a little bit because they were all so similar that I found myself forgetting who had done what to whom.  When I finished the book itself, I also found that I couldn't really describe the characters all that well either.  For someone that is described as having some of the best characters in the horror genre, I felt a little let down by that.  Maybe the reputation is what hurt this book the most for me as a reader.

However, despite those flaws, the parts of the book that did work, worked very well indeed.  There were some absolutely fantastic moments that really fascinated me with their twists and the darkly comic wit that Newman had running through them.  The intensity of those moments really were the reason that despite the major flaws that I mentioned earlier, I forged ahead to finish the book and I'm glad that I did.  I would even go so far as to say that those good moments almost made me want to forgive the bad parts.  Almost.

Titan Books and Kim Newman however have treated his fans to not one, not two but FIVE new short stories by the man himself as additions to this new  version of the book.  I have to say, those five stories made this book enjoyable for me.  I would even say that I enjoyed them more than the novel itself.

While not a terrible book, The Quorum does do well as a 'Deal with the Devil' type of story.  Yes there are some cliched moments and yes the characters are quite thin personality wise but the parts that work well almost make you forgive the reader for that.  Maybe just one for the Newman collectors out there.

Story 7/10
Characters 6/10
Cover 6/10
Recommended 6/10
Overall 25/40

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