1980s Pulp Horror Review: KISS NOT THE CHILD by John Tigges

KISS NOT THE CHILD by John Tigges (Lesiure, 1988)
KISS NOT THE CHILD by John Tigges (Lesiure, 1988)

I keep reading John Tigges novels. As a collector of 1980s pulp, I’m fortunate enough to have found them all in decent condition over the years.  Occasionally the urge strikes me to revisit the fiction of my youth (call it a nostalgic yearning), and John Tigges’ fiction is one of several authors whose work I reach for in those moments.

KISS NOT THE CHILD works as a stand-alone novel, but it picks up with the same story line from UNTO THE ALTAR precisely where it left off. With this realization it also dawned on me that GARDEN OF THE INCUBUS must be part one of this series of books, given all of the backstory that is dumped about Adriana’s mother’s devilish experiences as a nun in the convent. Fortunately, I’d already read UNTO THE ALTAR, but now I’ll have to go back and read GARDEN OF THE INCUBUS just so I have the full history in case any of his other books are a continuation of this story.

Whereas UNTO THE ALTAR follows the misadventures of Adriana Brevenger at the hands of devil worshipers in their secluded island castle, KISS NOT THE CHILD picks up with Adriana’s college friend, Ramsey Flint, heading out on a mission to find her missing friend, or at least discover what happened to her.

Overall this book was enjoyable. I read it quickly. It is definitely pulp horror, and suffers from what I feel is pretty bad prose, but it’s not unreadable. There’s a lot of clunky phrasing and inelegant passages, which really I’ve come to expect in a novel like this.  I knew what I was getting into here. It’s okay. What this novel did well was give me a sense that something big was going on (plausibility aside). Multiple international settings gave me a sense that I was on an adventure with our intrepid protagonist Ramsey Flint, and that was pretty cool. Also, some of the horrific things that happen in this book are laugh-(or groan)-out-load gruesome, sure to please the fan of cheesy, over the top horror.

Given that I went into this knowing well the weaknesses of past Tigges novels I’ve read, I ended this one feeling satisfied. If you’re willing to forgive some predictability and clunky prose, but like pulp fiction and cheesy, over the top, in-your-face horror, you might enjoy KISS NOT THE CHILD.

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Note that, given what I know now, this is part three of a series of books that Leisure Books didn’t bother to market as related in anyway. It’s not required to read them in any order, but it will help:

  1. GARDEN OF THE INCUBUS
  2. UNTO THE ALTAR
  3. KISS NOT THE CHILD

Happy reading!

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