Author(s): Mike Johnson

NZ Fiction

"After they closed down the hospital, before selling it off to the bulldozers, a few of us broke in at night through a loose window at the back and ran around the corridors in the dim light playing ghosts and dead people.
"That part was funÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂæ"

These are the opening lines of Mike JohnsonÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs sixth novel, Stench. The book begins simply and beguilingly in a small NZ town, but soon widens and deepens into a powerful tale of a whole townÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs descent into fear and frenzy.

A group of teenagers become party to a terrible secret: something lies beneath the floor of the old hospital, something that gives off a stench capable of changing people, warping their minds and their spirits, enslaving them. The action is seen through the eyes of one of these teenagers, the youngest and lowliest of them, a girl they all call Baby. The people of Hikitarua think Baby is a simpleton because she has a speech impediment and has difficulty communicating. But, at least in her own mind, she is the only one who can see clearly what is happening, and who desperately tries to prevent the unfolding tragedy. The only one who can save the town ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂàor destroy it.

With the action taking place over three or four drought-filled, hot, wind-driven days, this home-grown horror story snaps the reader up in a vice-like grip that doesnÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt let go until the last line.
Small-town New Zealand will never be the same again. Stench begins innocently enough, but grows into an intense and fantastic tale of terror that will seize your imagination and refuse to let it go. This is Mike Johnson at his gripping and Gothic best.

What do people think of STENCHm

"From book to book Mike Johnson keeps you guessing. What will he come up with nextn With Stench he continues his career as one of the most innovative, original and fearless writers I know." - Witi Ihimaera

ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂElegantly written, intensely readable and very, very creepy, Stench is certainly worth a look for devotees of horror fiction. But though it can creditably stand as a member of the genre (up there with some of the very finest of them) this stylish and intelligent novel offers much more. Readers who donÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt have an appreciation for horror will also find much to admire in Stench ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂàas long as they arenÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt too squeamish.ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ

Reviewed by Kate Loughmane
Gulf News
6 May 2004

ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂæ Mike Johnson writes coherent English and builds his story and his characters layer by layer. The ambiguity of the characters and the issues of truth bouncing off facts and confused perceptions makes Stench a book to mull over.ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ

Reviewed by Robin List
Wairarapa Times-Age
29 May 2004

ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂItÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a clammy nightmare of a book, twisting together its strands of familiarity and fantasy with a gruesome momentum.ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ

Reviewed by Victor Billot
Otago Daily Times
5 June 2004

ÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂJohnson offers a homegrown version of [Stephen King and Philip K DickÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs take] on malevolence, anxiety and paranoia. ItÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs very stylishly and skilfully done, as he knocks out a lean narrative that is economical to the maxÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂæÃÂâÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ

Reviewed by David Eggleton
5 June 2004


Reviewed by Nicholas Reid
Dominion Post
5 June 2004


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"From book to book Mike Johnson keeps you guessing. What will he come up with next? With Stench he continues his career as one of the most innovative, original and fearless writers I know." - Witi Ihimaera."

Mike Johnson is one of New Zealand's leading writers and has been the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards. Born in Christchurch in 1947, he graduated from Canterbury University and went to Europe where he stayed for nine years, teaching English as a foreign language in Germany, Spain and North Africa. On his return to New Zealand in 1982 he moved to Waiheke Island where he has lived ever since with his family. He first registered on the New Zealand literary scene as a poet before branching out into short stories and novels. He is familiar to many locals on Waiheke Island for his skills in the craft of marbling and taught creative writing for eight years at The University of Auckland's Department for Continuing Education. He has twice stood for Parliament for the Green Party and has been active in environmental politics. He enjoys reading Dostoevsky, tramping and reading to his children. Stench is Mike Johnson's eleventh published book and was shortlisted in the 2002 Richard Webster Popular Fiction Award.

General Fields

  • : 9781877270680
  • : Hazard Press
  • : Hazard Press
  • : January 2004
  • : 181mm X 111mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Mike Johnson
  • : Paperback
  • : 823.2
  • : good
  • : 304