Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Review #SpringHorror #Readathon Lost Boy Lost Girl by John Saul


Book number two in my Spring into Horror readathon choices.

Synopsis: A woman commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son—beautiful, troubled fifteen-year-old Mark Underhill—vanishes from the face of the earth. To his uncle, horror novelist Timothy Underhill, Mark’s inexplicable absence feels like a second death. After his sister-in-law’s funeral, Tim searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help him unravel this mystery of death and disappearance. He soon learns that a pedophile murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before his mother’s suicide Mark had become obsessed with an abandoned house where he imagined the killer might have taken refuge.

As we can expect from the author who gave us the ultimate ghost story back in 1979, Lost Boy, Lost Girl eventually takes us down the path of being another haunted house masterpiece.  The house at 3323 North Michigan Street becomes a living breathing evil character in its own right. It has everything haunted houses should have including poltergeists, hidden rooms, and hidden staircases.

From the opening page, this story oozes a creepy Gothic style atmosphere, which we have all seen in our most disturbed dreams, and thus , we can relate.  And the story just gets spokky and creepier , every turn of  the page.  There are two subplots in this story that "never the twain shall meet."  One involving a ghost, and the other, a serial killer.  We are left guessing Mark's fate throughout the book.

Excerpt: "Gradually his panic left him, and he got out of bed and went to his window. Out in the night, something happened: a bloated, dark shape melted through the barbed wire at the top of the wall....Mark's reawakened terror, cold as dry ice, brushed his stomach and his lungs."

Peter Straub has a distinct writing style, unlike any author I have experienced.  I read Ghost Story a long time ago, and still remember the ongoing underlying dread that was always wriggling at the back of my mind while reading it.  I felt the exact type of dread while reading this book.  There are many story tellers out there that smack you in the face with gore horror, then there are some that raise the goose pimples on your flesh and stand the hair up on the back of your neck, with a subtlety that few can match.

This book is a fine example of the latter. No huge jump scares, no huge crazy twists you didn't see coming. But a story of fantastic imagery and writing that makes the reader think and visualize every page of the book. Different readers will interpret this book entirely differently than myself. That is the beauty of this story. The reader must invest themselves in this novel, draw their own conclusions and be rewarded by a literary masterpiece that you will want to read, again and again.

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