Many years ago I bought a box of SF paperbacks sight unseen. Included were a number of books by John Lymington. I’m still trying to find at least one that makes any sense. I did find one, 1964’s “FROOMB!”, but that’s it so far. I have a few more to go as the search continues. This one is so unorganized that I had to wonder if it was done on purpose. If so, why? This one has a Lovecraftian feel but that ends any similarities.
A scientist named Camm builds a device that can look into the stars and the far past. He hears a heartbeat from thousands of feet underground and discovers that it’s from a huge alien that’s been there for millions of years. It caused local legends about a ghost in the mine. It takes place in the small English village of St.Cary.
His nephew John Newton is a reporter on the local paper. The editor is right out out of the 1930’s cigar chomping, screaming boss who fires Newton almost daily. Newton is carrying on with the advice columnist. They used to be an item but then she got married to an extremely jealous man.
Camm wants to protect the alien from the military. He goes into the mine shaft as soldiers and John look on. There’s a sudden pressure on everyone’s brain and the soldiers die. John seems to be immune to whatever it is. Camm ends up in the hospital with a broken back.
In the mix is a landlady John has been carrying on with. She’s freaked out because she saw a huge eye come out of the ground when Camm’s equipment was destroyed in a barn. Camm says the being will awaken on Friday. St.Cary is evacuated. John volunteers to stay behind and report on what happens. His only companion is Jason the dog.
The book jumps back and forth with no warning between the past and present. It’s a chore to get through its 173 pages. There are threads of story that go nowhere and are obvious filler to make it longer. The best part of it is the last sentence, not because it’s the end but because it’s a great ending. Too bad the beginning and middle were so bad.