Melvin Burgess - Hunger (4 stars)

Melvin Burgess - Hunger

Hammer's first book release fits well with the brand's cheesy horror image

Cult horror brand Hammer continues its multi-media reboot with this grizzly, fast-paced novella from Melvin Burgess, best-known for 1996’s Junk. First-year student Beth wakes up one morning covered in bruises and dirt, with no memory of the night before. Soon, she, her brother and their friends stumble upon a world in which demons, ghouls and vampires not only exist but are impossible to kill.

Hunger is littered with knowing cultural echoes: a battle in a library is pleasingly familiar territory for Buffy fans and there’s a nod to Dracula when the group seek refuge in Whitby, where Bram Stoker’s novel is partly set. A few plot turns seem thrown-in and the dialogue is often wincingly cheesy, but it all suits Hammer’s historic image.

The brand’s recent revival has seen reissues of cinema classics like The Curse of Frankenstein, as well as an upcoming theatrical foray and this literary imprint, Hammer Books. Hunger might not be Burgess’ best work but it’s certainly a great addition to this entertaining canon.

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