Don’t deny it. Those covers are one the coolest things you’ve ever seen.
I remember seeing the covers of these books and immediately looking them up to buy them. This would have been 7 or 8 years ago. At that point, there were no copies available for less than 10 dollars, so I decided to wait. I just checked, and the cheapest available copy of Satan’s Surrogate available at the moment is just less than 300 dollars. Thanks a lot Paperbacks From Hell!
Satan’s Love Child (1977)
A reporter for a small town newspaper discovers the horrendously mutilated corpse of a reclusive old man in a town that has recently been overrun by weird, taciturn hippies. Around the same time, the reporter figures out that her husband has been cheating on her, partly because he hates his weird stepdaughter.
As a horror novel, Satan’s Love Child is pretty mediocre. On the plus side, it has plenty of Satanism, a weird monster, a reanimated corpse, and even a few mentions of Yog-Sothoth. Unfortunately, the characters are transparent and don’t really act the way normal people would, even when they’re not under the influence of witchcraft. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it.
This was originally published as porn though. The author was initially asked to write a rip off of The Omen and then forced to insert graphic sex scenes before it was published. There’s only 3 or 4 sex scenes, but they’re full on hardcore porn. Honestly, I skimmed through these bits. They don’t add anything important to the book. There is a lengthy anal rape scene towards the end of the book that I wasn’t sure about. Was that bit supposed to be sexy or horrible? It came across as horrible.
Satan’s Mistress (1978)
A dead wizard is reincarnated through incestuous rituals and then attempts to summon the Old Ones discussed in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft after sexually assaulting some teenagers.
This book is trash, but it’s quite entertaining. I knew it was supposed to be Lovecraftian horror, but I didn’t realise quite how Lovecraftian. Lovecraft plays a similar role here as he does in Robert Bloch’s Strange Eons, not as a mere author of pulp fiction but as a prophet.
Despite the titles, this book has absolutely nothing to do with Satan’s Love Child. While the cover here is equally as sexy as its unrelated predecessor, the gratuitous sex scenes are absent. There is a similar unpleasantness running through the books. McNaughton wasn’t a happy ending kind of guy.
Satan’s Seductress (1979)
Satan’s Seductress is a direct sequel to Satan’s Mistress. Its cast is almost entirely made up of characters who survived Satan’s Mistress. It’s more of the same. The evil wizard and his mistress are searching for the Necronomicon, and they are prepared to do some pretty horrendous stuff to get it.
This is not a great book, but it contains knife-wielding cultists, reanimated corpses, portals to other dimensions and eldritch tomes of forbidden mystery. This is precisely the kind of trash that I want to read after a hard day at work.
Satan’s Surrogate (1982)
While there is not much point in reading Satan’s Seductress if you haven’t read Satan’s Mistress, Satan’s Surrogate, like Satan’s Love Child is entirely separate, standalone novel. The plot has similarities with Mistress, and it’s similar in tone to the other books, but it’s far more complicated. Honestly, I found it a little disappointing. The story is too busy. There’s a lot of characters, and they’re largely uninteresting. There’s also a lot of plot elements, probably too much really. It has vampirism, wizards, alternate dimensions, cannibalism and references to Robert W. Chambers, Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft, but it has a weird folklore thing running through it too. It wasn’t a total pain to read, but I never looked forward to sitting down with at night. This is particularly disappointing, as I paid more for my copy of this book than I did for any of the others mentioned here. As far as I know there was only one edition published under this title, so this is is the hardest to find of the Satan series.
I realise that I said very little about the plots of these books. That’s not laziness. There’s really not very much to say. These books are trash. The reason they are hard to find is because they look so damn cool.
The first editions of Satan’s Love Child, Satan’s Mistress and Satan’s Seductress all had the same face on them.
The sexy covers pictured at the top of the post appeared on the Star editions between 1980 and 1981. Satan’s Surrogate came out in 1982, and it never got a sexy cover. When it came out, it seems that Carlyle put out new editions of the earlier books with new covers. I have not been able to find an image of the cover of Satan’s Love Child from this run. I am not sure it even exists. That book is more pornographic than the others, so it might have been left out. Then again, the other books are numbered, so it seems unlikely that they left out #1.
All editions of these books are pretty scarce at this point, but the sexy Star ones are the hardest to find. Fortunately, Wildside rereleased the original texts with their original names in the early 2000s. These are all available as ebooks on amazon for a few dollars. The first book in the series won’t include the gratuitous sex, but I doubt that will affect anyone’s enjoyment much. I thought about getting the new (actually old) editions too and comparing the texts to the Satan versions, but the books aren’t actually good enough to warrant doing that.
- Satan’s Love Child is now Gemini Rising
- Satan’s Mistress is now Downward to Darkness
- Satan’s Seductress is now Worse Things Waiting
- Satan’s Surrogate is now The House Across the Way
Honestly, these books are alright, but you’ll probably never end up with the full collection. Get the ebooks and save your money. Getting my hands on the full set of Star editions took more time than it did money, but they have only become scarcer since then. I have copies of a few of McNaughton’s short story collections too. I may get to them at some stage, but I’m in no rush.