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Ghoul (Special X #2)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  984 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Dressed in a cape and top hat, with a bone white face and madman's eyes, the Ghoul crawls from the London sewers to kill - bloodily, perversely, inexplicably.

In Vancouver, the horror rock group Ghoul cavort onstage, their act a bizarre and violent front. But, for what? Drugs? Snuff films? Dirty money? Contract killings?

Inspector Zinc Chandler of Special X thinks he knows.

Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 2nd 1989 by Signet (first published January 1st 1987)
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(showing 1-30)
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A hideous disappointment after how much I truly dug Headhunter, which in my opinion is one of the ballsiest and most compelling mixes of the crime/police procedural and horror genres I've ever read. I really, REALLY wanted to like this book and spent a long time looking for it so I had nothing but the best intentions here...but I'd be reading it and I just wouldn't feel that thrilling, morbid spark I got from the first book. Then I'd put it down for like a couple weeks until I'd suddenly uncover ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Tony rated it it was amazing
What's my favorite horror novel of all time? Tough question, but the one novel that always first comes to mind is the sophomore effort, Ghoul, by the amalgamation of Canadian lawyers known as Michael Slade.

Don't be fooled by the tittle. This is not a book about monsters or the paranormal. Ghoul is a psycho-thriller featuring the hunt for a deranged psychopath by detective Zinc Chandler, a member of the elite Canadian serial killer task-force known as Special X. That's right, it's about Mounties.
Sep 03, 2007 James rated it really liked it
Recommended to James by: Rue Morgue Magazine
i have to admit to being rather conflicted on the rating of this book, which i desperately wish i could have given a 3.5 if able, but in the end, there was just too much that i found appealing to give it a flat 3.

my biggest complaints seem rather few when i think about them list-wise, but it's a strong list. there were, for a large portion of the book, too many story lines going on at one time, and by the time they were all pulled together, it wasn't so much an "a-ha" moment as an "oh, jeez" mo
Jeff Gamble
Dec 31, 2012 Jeff Gamble rated it it was amazing
quite possibly one of the best written horror novels ever.never before or since have i found myself reading a book one minute and then standing on the otherside on the room staring at the book wondering what the f*** is goin on.its worth the verbal acid trip to find out.
Dec 31, 2009 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: special-x
A police procedural/horror story, that's the warped mind of Michael Slade. The second in the "Special X" series, and after "Headhunter", it's hard to believe this is a father and daughter writing team!
This is a perverted, gory, blood fest. And a damn fine thriller.
Mar 23, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
If you like to take your mysteries with a liberal dose of WTF, Michael Slade is the author for you. Plot twists, surprise endings, questions left unanswered or with solutions incorrectly guessed at by the all-too-human beleaguered police force abound. Coming on the heels of Headhunter, the second novel in the Special X series is a gruesome nod to such "dangerous" elements of popular culture as rock music, comic books, and horror novels.

Despite being Special X #2, I consider Ghoul to be more like
Robert Defrank
Apr 26, 2015 Robert Defrank rated it it was ok
Short review: don’t bother. Minor Spoilers:

Longer review: I tried this one out because I understood it to be Lovecraft-inspired. It was, in the sense that Dungeons and Dragons ‘inspire’ Chick Tracts.

From the very first quote on the very first page – a quote supposedly from Lovecraft, long discredited by Lovecraft fans and generally accepted to be an invention of August Derleth – I suspected I was in for a disappointing ride. The story confirmed as much.

In brief: serial killers are inspired by Lo
Feb 27, 2013 Duane rated it really liked it
What an amazing book! Though I know that the depiction of a multiple personality in this novel is not actually the way such things work, it was easy enough to suspend disbelief, because of the completely captivating story and the concise prose style of the three people who write as Michael Slade. I found this thing in a used bookstore not too long after it came out (lucky me), and noticed a blurb on the back that said it had Cthulhu Mythos content. That was good enough for me to shell out the fe ...more
Nan Silvernail
Dec 06, 2011 Nan Silvernail rated it liked it
In the London sewers a madman schemes to bring back Lovecraft's Old Ones while a sadistic killer's victims float down to the Thames. A Vampire stalks young girls and drains their blood. A homophobic bomber strikes and then sends Victorian flower poseys. Meantime, in Canada the Death Rock group, Ghoul wails on the stage. Predators stalk their victim in a prison's shower. A sexually obsessed heiress makes her last call to an escort service and a nice woman shudders at threatening letters and calls ...more
Whoa this book is off the hook...a powerful bloody book with intersecting stories of a demented and violent serial killer, two sets of cops searching for him and glimpses into the lives of other characters..This book has everything sick and twisted you could want in a book: gory, violent detailed murder, psychosis at its best and hints of romance..but it also throws in incest, homosexuality, AIDS, death, rock and roll and of course HORROR...Scary book that was well written and interesting..The g ...more
Jeff French
Nov 23, 2011 Jeff French rated it it was amazing
Shelves: serial-killers
Headhunter is one of my favorite books. Ghoul is the follow-up to it. While I don't think Ghoul is in the same league as Headhunter, it deserves 5 stars for it's twisted plot, great characters, gruesomeness and shock value. The RCMP are up against killers who feel the need to compete against each other for the most notoriety, or so it seems. When the ending is revealed, the reader realizes that Slade has gone back to the same well as he did in Headhunter. Not the best choice, but would work real ...more
Apr 09, 2010 T.L. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Read this years ago when first released to paperback and I loved it. Turns out Michael Slade is the pen name of a Canadian father/daughter writing team. What a twisted imagination these two have. I approve!
Meghan Schulz
Aug 02, 2012 Meghan Schulz rated it it was amazing
Slade is my favorite author. Great character development and the fact that his books take place in and around Vancouver makes them that much more scary. A must read for those who like psycho thrillers
My favourite Special X book! The story has multiple scenarios running at the same time with what appears to be multiple villains too. Then comes the ending that wraps everything up in such a clever way, brilliant! My paperback edition has the holographic skull cover too!
Feb 07, 2008 Bill rated it liked it
If you're familiar with Slade's work, you know what to expect. I didn't find it near as shocking as Headhunter, so I was kind of disappointed.
A lot of people liked this one, though.
Jun 03, 2013 Robjr73 rated it it was amazing
Horror...mystery...thriller...this book is all those things and if you're a fan of any of those three genres then you owe it to yourself to read this masterpiece
Sep 17, 2008 Jenna rated it really liked it
I really like these books, there are a ton in this series, written as a collaboration of lawyers who are experts in forenzics and psychoanalysis of criminals. it's a mystery-thriller with only a touch of ick, but the whole book comes together at break neck speed at the end, and will NOT dissapoint you. It has an educational touch to it, as they have done their homework. its a wonderful rainy day book. or series of books.
Apr 02, 2012 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not even my worst enemy
Shelves: horror
One of the worst books I have ever read. Seriously. I found this on a book of "Best Horror Books" and I have to say that, while horror is not my favorite genre, there are many better books out there. Michael Slade is actually 3 separate people, which might explain why the book is so bad. One author wants to include every boring piece of research and slow down the plot. One wants to add sex and bad language to every scene, and one wants to include every stupid plot twist possible.
Apr 04, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book I read from my parents extensive collection of bad, paperbacks from the 1980's. It's a convoluted mystery novel (although I did figure it out long before the end) full of blood and guts that basically pins a lot of blame on horror movies/novels, punk, and the goth movement. It was okay...barely.
Oct 20, 2013 Gypsykat rated it it was amazing
This book was dedicated to HP Lovecraft, Alice Cooper, Stephen King with good reason. Homage to Cthulhu is paid and there is so much blood, guts and gore with a wonderfully twisting, twistED, storyline, that it is now my all-time fave horror novel! As another reviewer (in another forum) said; "A splatter-punk's wet dream!!"
Dec 10, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing
It's been ages and ages since I've read this, but I remember this being as good of a "serial killer book" as I've ever read. And I have read Silence of the Lambs.

If you can find this, hunt it down.
Jaime Contreras
This book scared the beans out of me. The tale of a mindless killer and a brilliant police officer (Zinc Chandler) with his own demons delivers the goods. This book will hit you in the gut and terrorize your mind. I can honestly say that it is one of the best horror novels I have ever read.
Dec 26, 2012 Tracie rated it it was amazing
Gruesome, serious crime fiction at its best. Michael Slade kept me up hour after hour turning pages like crazy... I literally could not put this down. Be warned though, it is graphic, raw and in your face like only Michael can do.
Janus Andersen
May 27, 2012 Janus Andersen rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
Mislykket blanding af psykohorror og krimi. Ikke særligt spændende, ikke skræmmende og ikke tåbelig nok til at være sjov. Meget fanget i sin tid - med mindre man synes, at Mötley Crüe er helt vildt satanisk og ondt og fyldt med bøh. Faktisk ikke helt sikker på, hvorfor jeg læste den her færdigt.
Jan 22, 2014 Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Wow....What a concept for a killer(s). Had me on the edge of my seat all the time while reading it. Is one of the best books ever written. Have read it three times already, and I am sure I will visit again.
One of my favourite ever books. Great characters, bloody scenes, a few different crimes going on at once that don't appear to have a connection....until one is revealed in a shocking way leading to a great ending sequence indeed!!
Craig Fitzpatrick
Jul 15, 2012 Craig Fitzpatrick rated it really liked it
Well worth reading. This and headhunter are 2 of the best horror/crime books I've had the pleasure of reading. If that's not enough Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden recommends it :)
Brian Sammons
May 25, 2012 Brian Sammons rated it it was amazing
My second favorite Slade book, after Headhunter, even if “he” gets a lot of things wrong about Lovecraft. Regardless, a top rate gory, sexy, thrilling murder mystery if there ever was one.
Ian Christie
Mar 10, 2013 Ian Christie rated it really liked it
I've lost my copy. Bloody good read. I remember being hooked on it while blasting Alice Cooper in my speakers. Can't wait for the ebook for my kindle and read it all over again.
Leila Elkington-Brasz
Sep 19, 2010 Leila Elkington-Brasz rated it it was amazing
Creepy full of researched details that add fantastic depth and strength to the story. Excellent Canadian pyscho horror.
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Why no movies made of Michael Slade's brilliant books? 3 13 Jul 22, 2013 10:12PM  
ARE YOU MY DAD 1 17 Aug 28, 2009 06:08PM  
ARE YOU MY DAD 1 11 Aug 28, 2009 06:06PM  
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Criminal lawyer MICHAEL SLADE has acted in over one hundred murder cases. His specialty is the law of insanity. He argued the last death penalty case in Canada’s highest court.

Backed by his forensic experience, Slade’s Special X and Wyatt Rook thrillers fuse the genres of police and legal proce
More about Michael Slade...

Other Books in the Series

Special X (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Headhunter Reimagined (Special X Thrillers)
  • Cutthroat  (Special X, #3)
  • Ripper  (Special X, #4)
  • Evil Eye  (Special X, #5)
  • Burnt Bones  (Special X, #7)
  • Hangman  (Special X, #8)
  • Death's Door  (Special X, #9)
  • Bed Of Nails  (Special X, #10)
  • Swastika  (Special X, #11)
  • Kamikaze  (Special X, #12)

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