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Books for Review should be sent to: Don D'Ammassa, 323 Dodge Street,  East Providence, RI 02914

Last Update 3/10/23

The House at Phantom Park by Graham Masterton, Head of Zeus, 2022

An abandoned hospital is scheduled to be redeveloped as living space. Two people sent to survey the property are struck down mysteriously and one of them is convinced that he is a soldier wounded in Afghanistan, who has subsequently died. The incidents escalate with exploding bodies, spontaneous human combustion, contagious paralysis, and voices, images, and strange sounds. The supernatural beings native to Afghanistan have decided that all veterans of wars there must suffer forever, and they are determined to destroy anyone who might interfere with their fate. Grisly, relentlessly chilling, and occasionally surprising, this is one of the best of the author's recent novels.

Sherlock Holmes & Mr Hyde by Christian Klaver, Titan, 2022

A series of murders has led to suspicion that Edward Hyde is a serial killer. Dr. Jekyll hires Sherlock Holmes to find the real killer, bur obviously the situation is more complex than even the great detective initially realizes. The author - who has previously matched Holmes with Dracula - adds some further elements including a secret society to give the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel some additional dimensions. This is a better than average period mystery adventure story. 2/7/23

Child of Hell by William Dobson, Signet, 1982

A Stephen King clone by Michael Butterworth, sort of a cross between Carrie and Firestarter. A poorly socialized young boy discovers that he can start fires with his mind and is soon using his power to avenge himself on real and perceived enemies. He eventually manages to burn himself to death. There is surprisingly little empathy for the boy and the plot is too predictable to generate any real suspense. Has the feel of something the author knocked off ocver a long weekend to pay some bills. 2/6/23

Ghostwritten by Ronald Malfi, Titan, 2022

A collection of four novellas, linked only thematically - each of them involves a book. The best is "This Book Belongs to Olo," in which a boy creates a model of his house, with which he can modify reality and shunt people into magical imprisonment. Second best is "The Skin of Her Teeth," wherein a malevolent woman imprints her spirit into the novel her son is writing. The story will not tolerate any alterations, much to the woe of those who try to adapt it for the screen. The other two are readable but not as engrossing. 1/30/23

Lori by Robert Bloch, Tor, 1989

A rare horror novel from Bloch, in which a young woman discovers evidence that she might have lived before. Her parents are murdered by the family lawyer, to cover up his embezzlement, but he is also murdered. A psychic tries to help her and is immediately killed by a malevolent supernatural power. Her dreams show glimpses of another life and she is occasionally paranoid about her doctors and even her boyfriend. The police investigate in the background, though she is not a suspect. This was my favorite Bloch novel. 1/27/23

Strange Eons by Robert Bloch, Pinnacle, 1979

Most of Bloch's novels were straightforward suspense, and this was his first to be overtly horror. A collector stumbles across a painting of a monster which is later identified as the source for Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model." This leads to further exploration and some gruesome deaths as he discovers that Lovecraft was not writing fiction exactly but actually warnings about the danger with which humanity is faced by the possible return of godlike creatures that once ruled the world. There are some clever incorporations of HPL plots into the story, which unfortunately sometimes feels more like a parody than a pastiche. 1/16/23