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(Special X #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,201 ratings  ·  63 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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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,201 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans
Recommended to Orient by: Craig
A thrilling BR with my favorite GR villain BR partner, Craig :)

Woot, a creepy killer is stalking UK. Nah, it’s not Craig, don’t worry :D Great? Whoa, wait it’s not all, buy one - get four! A freaking discount on killers!!! Exciting, huh? What is more exciting is that the writer, Michael Slade, is a team of three writers - criminal lawyers, with great experience in criminal minds. And what do we get? A bloody realistic, very graphic book that makes a reader sweat a bit to figure it out whodunit a
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 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 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
Phil Kozel
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller
An 80's horror/thriller that pulls few punches to be sure. This was a little hard to get into given the frenetic pacing and the multiple story lines, but well worth the effort. Moving in time and space among Vancouver, Rhode Island and London, we are introduced to a messed up family, serial killer(s) and Vancouver PD trying to get enough to bust a mob character dealing in porno and heroin. Don't worry-- it all comes together soon enough. I really enjoyed the musical references and other aspects ...more
Dec 31, 2009 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.
Jeff Gamble
Dec 31, 2012 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.
Mar 23, 2012 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Feb 07, 2008 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 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
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I have read many a horror novel and i must say overall this may be the scariest one i have ever read.The sheer depravity and violence of the novel is nauseating at times ill admit however the complexity of the story and the insight given into the overall investigation taking place is well thought out and on point.Trust me when i tell you even Sherlock Holmes would have trouble piecing everything together and he is the greatest detective ever after all.

There is a chapter in this book entitled "Th
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book I would definitely class as entertaining. The various thematic killings read like a veritable who's who of horror literature and film. And the denouement, when it comes, is satisfying and delightfully outlandish.

My only issue is that I find the police procedural style disjointed. The facts come in a staccato fashion, interspersed with the more usual narrative style that I find myself used to, such that it sometimes takes me out of the story.

However, having said that, it makes no b
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. It had all of the elements of creepy, psychotic, horror that I love in a novel. I'm interested in the other Special X novels in this series.
gary sean hibbs
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, let's talk about Michael Slade. WOW WOW WOW, Michael Slade is a pseudonym for a group of Canadian lawyers who specialise in criminal insanity, so these guys really do know and understand what they write about.

Personally i haven't read a Michael Slade book that i haven't enjoyed immensely and ghoul is one of my favourites. It begins in Rhode island where a young man is buried alive as an initiation into a horror club.

The story follows inspector Zinc Chandler of the Special X (X for exter
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cnf
I wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. The synopsis sounded interesting, but the cover looked more like a slasher/horror novel than the mystery/suspense/thriller type that I usually read. I have two main criticisms with this book. 1. The storyline is too choppy with too much going on. I got to page 124 out of 380, and there seem to be no fewer than 5 different storylines that still haven't converged in any way, shape or form. Just when I start to get into one plot line, the writing shif ...more
Will Towne
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, thriller, crime
I started Ghoul in the morning and finished it at 10:30 pm the same day (taking a few intermittent breaks for food and psychological breaths). A fantastic, and horrific, read, one that combined just the right amount of twists and viscera to satisfy both the complexity-lover and gore hound in me, respectively.
Tina Billings
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Found it really hard to get into, restarted it 3 times. Story is very jumpy but it made sense once the reader got to the why. Ending didn't feel finished, left it open like there should be another novel. Its was an ok read.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Read in the 80s
Jenn Smith
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Been a while since I've read this but I just loved everything that this "group" did. Well written, great information on the Canadian geography. Nice twists that aren't predictable, and strong characters. All of the books under Michael Slade are written from factual tidbits taken from their collective legal careers and wrapped in a fictional story that truly transports the reader into the moment. Highly recommend, but not for the feint of heart. Use of strong language and explicit violence are pr ...more
Sep 17, 2008 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 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.
A.s. Koi
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books in the genre.

Psychological porn and you will get nothing better than this. Explore the depths and pain of madness, including the investigator as it is triggered in his own mind.

Seriously brilliant.

Read it over and over in my teens and it just keeps getting better. :D
Oct 20, 2013 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!!"
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Why no movies made of Michael Slade's brilliant books? 3 14 Jul 22, 2013 10:12PM  
ARE YOU MY DAD 1 17 Aug 28, 2009 06:08PM  
ARE YOU MY DAD 1 12 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

Other books in the series

Special X (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Headhunter Reimagined
  • Cutthroat  (Special X, #3)
  • Ripper  (Special X, #4)
  • Evil Eye  (Special X, #5)
  • Primal Scream  (Special X, #6)
  • 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)

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