The Semblant

Fiction - Horror
270 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Semblant is an erotic sci-fi horror novel by Bob Goodwin. After a decapitated body is found at a popular nightclub in Brisbane, Australia, Detectives Jan Silverton and Clive Anderson are on the case, determined to catch the culprit. Unbeknown to them, however, the killer is one of The Semblant - a race of humanoid creatures with advanced psychic abilities who can take over the form of their victims. Additionally, their Acquired victims display a heightened sense of sexual stimulation. Apart from a solitary mortician named Roderick Peabody, no human is aware of their existence. Meanwhile, a serial killer nicknamed "Daisy" has been going around brutally killing gay men. With two seemingly random cases on their hands, can the detectives solve the murders?

If you're a fan of Hollywood horror movies such as The Thing or erotic thrillers like Basic Instinct, you will enjoy The Semblant. Bob Goodwin merges the genres of sci-fi with erotic horror to create something that feels refreshingly unique. A fast-paced narrative coupled with unpredictable twists and turns in the plot makes this a thoroughly entertaining read from start to finish. The characters are well defined, with easily discernible motives that give authority to their actions. It creates a compelling dynamic during their interactions with each other. Goodwin infuses an intoxicating mix of eroticism and nail-biting horror sequences into the narrative that will have readers hooked, wondering what's going to happen next. Recommended to readers who love X-rated horror stories.

Lex Allen

They have been living with us for thousands of years, and while once close to extinction, the Semblants are now making a resurgence. These genetically advanced beings with heightened libidos also have psychic abilities that can influence, modify, and alter the experience and memories of others. They can hijack another person's identity - sometimes by mutual agreement, sometimes without. They can create elaborate illusions to seduce their victims that are perfect for each of the human senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Already a great story, but that isn't all. In The Semblant by Bob Goodwin, the third-person narrative fits perfectly as detectives investigate both the mystery of a headless corpse and the reappearance of people that have died. Add another case where a serial killer is targeting gay men and you've got the makings of a first-class crime thriller.

You have to love a story in which the author creates and introduces a completely new, wildly different but wholly believable horror story creature. The word "semblant" is defined as seemingly or resembling. In this case, it translates to alien-like creatures that are seemingly human in manner and deed while resembling humans in shape and behavior. These creatures have psychic powers that are unique to the paranormal and supernatural communities as well as their method for engaging with your regular, run-of-the-mill human. The British (Australian) English used throughout takes a bit of getting used to, but in the long run, adds spice to an already saucy and murderous tale. Enough for a great read? For sure, but Goodwin ensures a captivating read with erotic scenes that cross the boundaries of male-female sexuality into homosexuality, lesbianism, and bisexuality that is described beautifully without becoming vulgar. An erotic horror story par excellence, The Semblant by Bob Goodwin is, hands-down, the most entertaining book I've read this year!

Essien Asian

The body count keeps getting higher but detectives Jan Silverton and Clive Anderson are still no closer to finding the deranged serial killer who specializes in cutting off the victim's digits but leaves no trace of DNA behind. Just when they feel they might have to throw in the towel and admit defeat, Anderson stumbles on a clue that might be the key to solving their case. The only problem is that nothing about this clue makes any sense at all. Will Anderson be able to set aside his problems with his superiors and find the killer before the killing spree escalates? Only time will tell in Bob Goodwin's thrilling novel The Semblant.

Horror comes to town in Bob Goodwin's book. The Semblant combines some incredible science fiction with impressive detective work. Bob Goodwin's storyline maintains an exciting pace, setting up the climax of the grand affair that it is. The attention to detail that he applies to his characters is impressive, especially with the care he takes to explain the origins of the Semblants. This novel is quite graphic and some sections may cause discomfort to the mildly squeamish but it did not affect my enjoyment of the novel. I took an instant liking to Anderson's quirky habit of testing the limits of authority. The book is an appreciable dose of entertaining storytelling, laced with exciting fight scenes that will tease the reader's imagination. This is an impressive piece of work from Goodwin.

Vincent Dublado

The Semblant by Bob Goodwin is an erotic horror novel both arousing and horrifying at the same time. The Semblant walks among us, yet we are unaware because they live within us. While it evolved from humans, it is capable of utilizing its genes more thoroughly. An emerging Semblant inherits memories, characteristics, knowledge, abilities, and senses. All things that need some practice to blossom. On top of that, they have psychic abilities and heightened libidos. People reported to have died are reappearing, like Johnny Randall after his headless body was discovered. A serial killer that targets gay men alarms law enforcers, and detectives assigned to the case will try to find a connection between these bizarre reincarnations and the serial killings that could point to the existence of the Semblant.

Bob Goodwin keeps the stakes high in keeping the existence of the Semblant secret to those who are trying to find them. What is impressive is how his whole plot is constructed so that every relevant clue is presented to the reader and the detectives. Yet, readers have something they are aware of that the detective characters are clueless about—a supernatural whodunit element. Apart from that, the storyline exists for its sexual content. It’s a cross-genre of horror, crime, and erotica. The detailed sex scenes may be designed to titillate, but it sure amplifies standards for daring novels. Reading stories that explore lust and sensuality such as The Semblant can prove to be a turn-on when you become immersed in the story and understand that sex is a core element of the plot just like in the Gor Series. This is good reading for lovers of erotica and horror. It keeps your interest up to the last page as you want to discover how humans would deal with a deadly entity such as the Semblant.

Alex Ndirangu

Major Asian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism believe in reincarnation. Is it possible that death is not the end but a magical portal to rebirth? What effect would reincarnation have on our memories of previous lives? The Semblant by Bob Goodwin satiates all of this curiosity in the most chilling yet alluring narrative. After Medora Hammerstein, an eighty-four-year-old woman remains ill for three years, her husband Otto is desperate to end her suffering and turns to Rip, an undertaker, for help. Rip introduces him to The Semblant, Alastair. The Semblant are creatures with extremely endearing and youthful appearances, but they also have a dark side - they can prey on human brains. Medora dies and reincarnates as a young woman after Alastair "acquires" her. Later, brutal killings begin, and detectives launch extensive investigations. Is The Semblant the criminal, or is it another human serial killer who is leaving a trail of bodies? Will Madora choose to rekindle her relationship with Otto and will she still love him as much as she did before she died?

What I liked best about The Semblant was the author's incredible creativity and vividness in character and plot development. Bob Goodwin created several subplots that all contributed significantly to the advancement of the main plot. I could not put this book down. While I struggled with the horrific imagery, the exquisite interpersonal interactions that maintained the book's allure overwhelmed me. Otto and Medora's relationship was a favorite. These two were close companions whose bond of love spanned six decades. Even after Medora became ill and forgot that Otto was her husband, he never stopped loving and caring for her. Even after she moved to a care home, he never missed a visit for nearly three years. Otto's love for his sick wife was touching, and I couldn't help shedding tears when Madora died, leaving Otto alone. The author's writing style achieved the goal he set out to accomplish, which was to elicit as much empathy from his readers as possible. There was not a single aspect of this book that I disliked. Enjoy!