Advance Review: Relics by Tim Lebbon
Due for release: 21st March 2017
The Silence was the last book of Tim's I read, though I do remember the movie version of 30 Days of Night did well at the cinema. Also responsible for The Cabin in the Woods, the Alien-Predator trilogy "The Rage War," and Coldbrook he has won four British Fantasy Awards, A Bram Stoker Award, a Tombstone, a Shocker and been a finalist for the International Horror Guild and World Fantasy Awards.
In Relics, Angela Gough could be accused of murder, but Detective Inspector Volk thinks she and her lover, Vince are innocent of any crimes - the fact he has gone missing though is cause for concern. When it is obvious Vince won't call her back, Angela imagines all sorts of things; he must be out at the pub, he has another woman, or something more sinister. As Angela's love life is concerned, she has it better than most. He has to commute to work while she spends her time working from home, getting texts from Vince while he's busy. The first time he doesn't text her or return her calls, she gets suspicious. As their life has been so perfect and the truth is Vince is still madly in love with her after all these years means he might be embroiled in something bigger than the both of them, and she would be right.
What bothers Angela most is that he'd left her a note that said Sorry. Love you. Goodbye in the letterbox, followed by another after she started to search for him at his local haunts; Be safe. Don't look for me. This only makes her feel more determined to search for her lover and who could blame her. The horrifying truth comes to the surface when Angela finds out Vince has got himself involved with an underground organisation. Now some may be thinking it's to do with drugs or human trafficking, but Tim Lebbon wouldn't write about such an ordinary thing, it's horror remember. Angela thinks her life so far has been great with her lover, though she has no idea he has been surrounded by those who would pay small fortunes to own a piece of dragon bone or an angel's wing - think of the kind of otherworldly creatures from Harry Potter and you'll be along the right lines. As Angela is a criminology student, she knows a thing or two about crime and life for her has all of a sudden become her real life crime story as she continues her investigation of her missing lover. She isn't the only one who wants to find him either, another criminal, Mary Rock sets her sights on him as she wants to kill him, so Angela has to find him before she does.
Her investigation, however leads her to places she might be wise not to tread as notorious crime lord, Frederick Meloy is behind the slaughter and selling of the priceless relics of unusual creatures that shouldn't exist in this human world. What she finds in Frederick's place isn't drugs at all, but the dried head of something old and peculiar that she isn't quite sure is dead yet. Frederick is a name she remembers as she once visited him for one of her research papers, but was warned off from even contacting him - he is dangerous and as she's wanting answers she must tread carefully.
What is really creepy about the novel is what Angela uncovers as well as what she doesn't as you can imagine all the other relics scattered about and how they could want to get their revenge on those who would use them for financial gain. What you get from this story is fear, awe and wonder as well as a sense of your own mortality. For me, Relics topped The Silence in the creepy stakes.