Title: Mister Creecher
Author: Chris Priestley
Published: 3rd October 2011 by Bloomsbury
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: Gore, light romance 12+
Other info: Chris has also written The Dead of Winter and the Tales of Terror series.
Summary : Billy is a street urchin, pickpocket and petty thief. Mister Creecher is a monstrous giant of a man who terrifies all he meets. Their relationship begins as pure convenience. But a bond swiftly develops between these two misfits as their bloody journey takes them ever northwards on the trail of their target ...Victor Frankenstein. Friendship, trust and betrayal combine to form a dangerous liaison in this moving and frightening new book from Chris Priestley.
Review: Billy is a young thief on the streets of London when he meets Mr Creecher- a giant, mismatched man who is extremely mysterious. However, it doesn’t take long for them to form a strange friendship as together they journey north, following one man in particular- Victor Frankenstein.
In case you haven’t guessed Creecher is Frankenstein’s Creature, and (not so obviously) Billy is Oliver Twist’s Bill Sikes (but much younger). We also meet other characters such as Justine (the girl who hangs after Frankenstein’s Creature kills someone), and such. Points to Chris for including fictional characters into his own fiction. Extra points for including real life figures in this as well, such as Mary Shelley.
I enjoyed the Tales of Terror series of books, so I should have enjoyed this. And I’m glad to say I did. The atmosphere and world building, this time of Victorian London, is excellent, and elements of gothic horror come through a lot. The back end of London is portrayed fully and you get quite attached to the characters.
You don’t get that many teenage horror novels, and this is a good addition to the pool. If I hadn’t read Frankenstein by then, I would have probably done after reading this.
The writing is good. As well as building atmosphere and tension, there’s a nice quality to it that doesn’t censor gore, but keeps you thinking about the events,
Creecher is shown in a really pitiful light, more so than the original Frankenstein. There were many times throughout where I just wanted to hug him, but there were also enough times to remind us that at heart, he was a monster. Seeing him learn about things such as reading was really nice seeing him develop in ways that we take for granted.
Billy and Creecher’s relationship (non-romantic) is nice to watch develop. It grows slowly as both develop, and it’s nice seeing it happen. It also means that these two characters, both the antagonists in their respective classics, are really likeable in this book.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a strong horror novel for younger readers.