Thursday, 5 April 2012

Review: CRYPT: Traitor's Revenge by Andrew Hammond

In York and London, strange shapes are taking form, emerging from the shadows. And who is the man who lies in a pitch-black room, listening to a voice that seems to speak from the darkness itself?

Jud Lester knows that something evil is afoot. He also knows that it can't be investigated by any normal brand of counter-intelligence...

This is a case for CRYPT: a team of elite teenage agents who use their extra sensory perception and arsenal of high-tech gadgets to investigate crimes that the police can't solve.

I loved The Gallows Curse, the first book in Andrew Hammond's CRYPT series, and so it was with no small amount of excitement that I started reading its sequel, Traitor's Revenge. That first book was not perfect, for reasons that I stated in my review, but it was still a hugely entertaining, fast-paced action horror story and I was intrigued to see where Andrew Hammond took his team of teen ghostbusters next. I was not disappointed.

This time around we see Jud Lester and his fellow CRYPT operatives battling supernatural forces in both York and London. Having introduced us to his characters in the first book, Andrew Hammond devotes more of his story to the action and horror elements, an improvement on The Gallows Curse which I felt at times had a little too much information giving, especially with regards to Jud's past. Further character development isn't completely overshadowed by the more frantic or gore-filled scenes, as we find out more about the strained relationship between Jud and his father, as we also continue to see the growing bond between Jud and Bex.

Traitor's Revenge has everything that its predecessor had bar one thing, and that is a superb climax to the story. The ending of The Gallows Curse was brilliant, edge-of-your-seat stuff and much as I enjoyed the sequel, I felt the climactic action scenes didn't pack quite as much punch. This aside, Traitor's Revenge is a very worthy continuation of the CRYPT story. The pacing is as fast as ever and the background to the events in the story makes for a great set-up - Andrew Hammond very cleverly uses a significant event from British history and makes it part of his modern day story. Setting some of the story in York adds something new to the mix, and these scenes are particularly spooky, especially when Bex travels up to the city without any kind of back-up and things begin to spiral out of control. Gore fans will not be disappointed either, as yet again there is enough blood dripping through the pages to keep the splatter addicts happy.

The next book in the CRYPT series, titled Mask of Death, is scheduled to be published in September and yet again I am very much looking forward to reading more about the CRYPT team's adventures in ghostbusting. The blurb on Amazon has me sold on it already:

A figure wearing a white mask swoops down a deserted hospital corridor towards a quarantined patient. Covered in black sores and writhing in agony the patient can't be saved by modern medicine. But then, the masked figure is not a modern doctor...

Bodies are being discovered all over London, all marked with the same black sores - it seems a contagious disease is spreading across the city. But when witnesses all report seeing the same mysterious masked figure it seems there's something more sinister going on.

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