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Creator / Graham Masterton

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"Some writers write stories that grab you by the throat. Graham Masterton tears out your thyroid, reaches down your esophagus, rips out your stomach, liver and some intestines, stomps on them and sets the remains on fire."
— Review of The Sleepless

Graham Masterton, born in 1946 in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a prolific writer in several genres who is most famous for his voluminous output of horror stories. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he edited the UK editions of men's magazines Penthouse and Playboy. Quite possibly as a spin-off of this career, he wrote hack sex comedies and several volumes of sex manuals, something he has cheerfully never tried to disguise or conceal as an embarrassing reminder of what he did to earn a living before his literary career really took off.

Significant works by this author include:

  • The Manitou/Harry Erskine series:
    • The Manitou (1976)
    • The Djinn (1977)note 
    • Revenge of the Manitou (1979)
    • Burial (1991)
    • Spirit Jump (short story; collected in anthology Faces of Fear) (1996)
    • Manitou Blood (2005)
    • Blind Panic (2009)
    • Plague of the Manitou (2015)
  • Night Warriors series:
    • Night Warriors (1987)
    • Death Dream (1988)
    • Night Plague (1991)
    • Night Wars (2006)
    • The Ninth Nightmare (2011)
  • Rook series:
    • Rook (1997)
    • Tooth and Claw (1997)
    • The Terror (1998)
    • Snowman (1999)
    • Swimmer (2001)
    • Darkroom (2004)
    • Demon's Door (2010)
    • Garden of Evil (2012)
  • Sissy Sawyer series:
    • Touchy and Feely (based on the Beltway snipers) (2005)
    • The Painted Man (also published as Death Mask) (2008)
    • The Red Hotel (2012)
  • Nathan Underhill series:
    • Basilisk (2009)
    • Petrified (2011)
  • Katie Maguire series
    • White Bones (also published as Katie Maguire and A Terrible Beauty) (2003)
    • Broken Angels (also published as Voice of an Angel) (2012)
    • Red Light (2014)
    • Taken for Dead (2014)
    • Blood Sisters (2015)
    • "Eye for an Eye" (short story) (2015)
    • Buried (2016)
    • Living Death (2016)
    • "The Drowned" (short story) (2016)
    • Dead Girls Dancing (2016)
    • Dead Men Whistling (2018)
    • Begging to Die (2019)
    • The Last Drop of Blood (2020)
  • Standalone novels:

This author's works provide examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Setting for Walkers.
  • Antagonist Title: Tengu, referring to the evil demon.
  • Artifact of Doom: The titular Heirloom and Mirror.
  • Autocannibalism: Behind the cult in Ritual; published as Feast in the USA.
  • Bleached Underpants: Averted — Masterton has never tried to conceal an early career in soft-core pornography.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Harry Erskine, narrator and recurring character of the Manitou novels, is a fictional character in Black Angel.
  • Chest Burster: The very first novel in the Night Warriors series features womb-bursting eels tearing out of women who had sex with Yaomatil, the demon who's also known as Asmodeus. The eels are the malevolent, monstrous sperm cells of Yoamatil that planted itself to the uterine wall and grow until they're tear out and do some evil like bite off the face of one poor cop.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: One of many effects The Heirloom has on its owner's property.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Misquamacus, of the Manitou series, originates from August Derleth and H. P. Lovecraft's The Lurker at the Threshold. Several of his standalone novels and short stories also take inspiration from the Mythos, such as Prey and The Wells of Hell.
  • Darkest Africa: Setting for Solitaire.
  • Day of the Jackboot: The USA lets the USSR take over Western Europe in a 1985 political thriller. Its title? Sacrifice.
  • Demonic Possession: The U S President in The Hell Candidate.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Exaggerated in Tengu:
    ...was only intended to be the start. Kappa planned to attack one nuclear-power station after another, year by year, until America's spirit was broken and her lands were glowing with radioactivity. She would never rise again. What Kappa wanted to do was to release so much nuclear energy into her atmosphere that her children would be born dead or deformed for centuries to come
  • Doorstopper: Rich, the decades-spanning Dallas -style saga of the Cornelius family, runs to over 700 pages.
  • Don't Try This at Home: A stickler for accuracy, Masterton added a disclaimer to The Devils of D-Day:
    All of the devils and demons that appear in this book are legendary creatures of Hell, and there is substantial recorded evidence of their existence. For that reason, it is probably inadvisable to attempt to conjure up any of them by repeating out loud the incantations used in the text, which are also genuine.
  • Dream Land: the setting of Night Warriors and other stories.
  • During the War: The American Civil War takes place during Railroad, World War One during Lady of Fortune, World War Two during Lords of the Air.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Many of his stand-alone horror novels finish on a hint that the evil is not vanquished.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Headlines, set in the 1949 offices of a Chicago newspaper.
  • The Famine: Famine, 1980 novel.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Arcane martial arts in Tengu.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: David gets a terrifying glimpse of a polluted future world in Prey.
  • Genuine Human Hide: What the Grays need in Family Portrait.
  • Ghostapo: The Devils of D-Day inverts this, as it's the Allies who were in league with demons, using thirteen possessed tanks for the breakout from the Normandy beachhead.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: 'Lamprey' in Sacrifice.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: An entire organization of them in Edgewise — FLAME, or Father's League Against Mother's Evil, who claim to be performing a holy mission when they target and murder (via burning) divorced women who've gotten custody of their children, then deliver the children to their father. And they perform these murders whether or not the father wanted his ex dead.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The hair of the Coyote demon in Charnel House is entwined around a cable in the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Colleen Petley in Ikon.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • In Tengu, Hiroshima was chosen as a target for the atomic bomb to obliterate a place where indestructible warriors possessed by demons were being created.
    • In A Terrible Beauty, the Lusitania was torpedoed because British intelligence informed the German admiralty that a wanted murderer was aboard the ship.
  • Historical Fiction: Solitaire, Empress among others.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: In The Pariah, the death of the Toltecs, the atrocities of Caligula, the Black Death and the Salem witch trials are all attributed to the demonic antagonist.
  • Hollywood Exorcism:
    • The Pope against the Devil in The Hell Candidate.
    • Averted in The Devils of D-Day where it's pointed out that exorcisms are hardly ever used these days, and the only priest who actually believes in the danger is too old and feeble for the task.
  • Honey Trap: The U S President falls victim to one in Ikon.
  • How We Got Here: Historical sagas including Railroad, Solitaire, Corroboree and Silver have prologues set after the rest of the story.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Lady of Fortune has early 20th Century investment bankers dismissing motor-cars and the Thompson machine gun as not worth investing in.
  • Land Down Under: Corroboree is set in 19th-Century Australia. Protagonist Eyre Walker leads an expedition into its uncharted deserts.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Walkers.
  • Mad Lib Thriller Title: The Sweetman Curve, The Hell Candidate, The Chosen Child, The Ninth Nightmare, The Red Hotel.
  • Magitek: The weapons and armor of the Night Warriors are powered by Dream energy and given to them by what's essentially God. These include a laser-shooting BFG and a hypersonic, flying skateboard. Over the centuries, the Night Warriors' powers and equipment have improved in line with human technology advancing.
  • Magical Native American: Charnel House 's George Thousand Names, and George Iron Walker (who quickly turns out to be an antagonistic version) in Edgewise.
  • Mirror Universe: Martin Williams enters a literal one in Mirror.
  • Nazi Hunter: Bill Bennett in Condor.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In Famine, farmer Ed Hardesty is made to do a TV appeal that confirms the cover story for the impending crisis. Instead, he follows his conscience and tells the truth to the nation, triggering the collapse of society.
    • In The Devils of D-Day, an American cartographer frees a demon trapped in a World War 2 tank because its influence is poisoning the surrounding village. The demon murders the local priest before it can be exorcised, and forces him to travel to England to free the rest of its brethren.
  • Pen Name: Masterton published a few as 'Thomas Luke' (including a Novelization of the movie Phobia — which mentioned another of his novels, The Hell Candidate).
  • The Plague: Plague, 1976 novel set in Miami and New York.
  • Prescience by Analysis: A corrupt senator uses The Sweetman Curve to predict who will vote against him.
  • Prospector: Henry T. Roberts, protagonist of Silver, is an unwitting one.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Literally so in Night Plague.
  • Recurring Character:
    • Kate Maguire and Jim Rook have their own series.
    • Springer, the guide for Night Warriors.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: After David undoes the events of Prey, only his son doesn't remember them.
  • The Roaring '20s: Maiden Voyage — of the SS Arcadia, the most luxurious ocean liner ever built.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Could be the Cornelius family motto in Rich.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Literally so in The Devils of D-Day, where a demon is welded up inside a World War 2 tank.
  • Sensual Slavs: Sacrifice 's Rufina Konstantinova and Inge Schultz.
  • Serial Killer: The Fog City Satan in Black Angel and Lenny Multkin in Headlines.
  • Setting Update: Family Portrait was a modernised The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  • The Sleepless: Literally in the 1993 novel of the same name, in which the antagonists are a species of beings who don't sleep.
  • Spooky Sťance: In Black Angel.
  • State Sec: In 1982's Ikon, learning that the USSR is secretly running the USA is a death sentence.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Tengu.
  • Super Team: This is essentially what the Night Warriors are, they are a team of people assembled by Ashapola and given unique powers (one guy was a speedster with a hypersonic, flying skateboard!!) to safeguard humanity from the forces of darkness that haunt the dreamworld.
  • Synthetic Plague: Unleashed in Condor.
  • Taken for Granite: Walkers.
  • The X of Y: The Devils of D-Day, The Wells of Hell.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Lords of the Air, about an aircraft-manufacturing family.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: Painful hiding-place for the diamond in Solitaire.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Lieutenant Foggia is forced to in Black Angel.
  • Wendigo: One of the main antagonists of Edgewise, along with the man who summoned it up.
  • We Need a Distraction: A few to get police looking the wrong way in Ikon.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In The Sweetman Curve and The Sleepless.
  • White Magic: Used by the Pope against the Devil in The Hell Candidate.

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