Night of the Crabs

“Night of the Crabs” is a horror novel by British author Guy N. Smith, first published in 1976. It is one of Smith’s most popular and enduring works, kicking off a series centered around giant, killer crabs. Here’s an overview of the novel:

Plot Summary

The story is set along the Welsh coastline, where a series of mysterious disappearances and violent deaths alarm the local community. The protagonist, marine biologist Cliff Davenport, is drawn into the investigation when his nephew and the nephew’s girlfriend go missing while vacationing near the sea.

Davenport discovers that giant, carnivorous crabs are responsible for the attacks. These crabs, far larger and more aggressive than any known species, have been driven ashore by a combination of environmental changes and human activities. The crabs are not only deadly but seemingly impervious to conventional weapons.

As the crabs wreak havoc on the coastline, Davenport teams up with local authorities and military forces in a desperate attempt to stop the onslaught. The novel builds to a climax as they face the terrifying reality of the crabs’ breeding ground and the potential for an even greater disaster.

Themes and Style

  • Nature’s Revenge: The novel reflects themes of nature striking back against human encroachment and exploitation.
  • Survival Horror: Smith effectively creates a sense of urgency and fear, as characters must fight for their lives against an unstoppable force.
  • Environmental Catastrophe: The book touches on ecological themes, highlighting how environmental disruption can lead to unforeseen and disastrous consequences.


“Night of the Crabs” was well-received by fans of horror and pulp fiction, praised for its fast-paced, action-packed narrative and its ability to deliver genuine thrills. The success of the novel led to a series of sequels, making the giant crabs a recurring threat in Smith’s body of work.

Sequels and Legacy

The popularity of “Night of the Crabs” spawned several sequels, including:

  • “Killer Crabs” (1978)
  • “The Origin of the Crabs” (1979)
  • “Crabs on the Rampage” (1981)
  • “Crabs’ Moon” (1984)
  • “Crabs: The Human Sacrifice” (1988)
  • “Killer Crabs: The Return” (2012)

These books expanded on the original story, exploring new settings and escalating the threat posed by the giant crabs. The series has maintained a cult following, appreciated for its blend of horror, adventure, and sheer courageousness.