Books by Collin McDonald

Released: Oct. 1, 1994

Instead of grisly horror stories, McDonald (The Chilling Hour, 1992, etc.) specializes in psychological suspense with a supernatural twist. The eight short stories in this, his third collection, follow a similar pattern: Ordinary adolescents' mundane preoccupations lead them gradually but inevitably into some eerie dilemma from which they just barely escape by an act of will. Sometimes, overactive imagination propels the plot: School band members fixate on rumors about their band teacher; girls at a slumber party become fascinated with a long-ago scandal; a boy at a cowboy museum imagines himself into the gunfight at the O.K. Corral; a young swimmer becomes obsessed with the plight of hunted whales; a young boy dreams of being a gangster. In other stories, evil emanates from some inanimate object—a soda machine, a roadside souvenir stand, a rented tuxedo—Ö la Stephen King. The writing is competent, if a trifle pat and prissy; the protagonists have white-bread personalities, but they serve their functions as vessels for horror. The very sketchiness of the stories, in fact, gives them a kind of old- fashioned Twilight Zone quality, which is oddly appealing. Kids with an appetite for spooky stories will breeze right through this inoffensive volume. (Fiction. 9+) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

A snowed-in, freezing family almost makes the mistake of climbing into the Black Van that stops for them...a locket with an old photograph becomes a slow, deadly trap...a substitute teacher returns to his hometown after many years to take revenge on the children of his tormentors...a seemingly ramshackle house proves to be a gateway to past and future. Readers who enjoyed (if that's the word) the author's Nightwaves: Scary Tales for After Dark (1990) will find these eight simply told stories similar, if somewhat milder, fare. Despite occasional flashes of bone and blood, McDonald relies on irony or shock, rather than explicit grue, for his effects, and not all of these tales have a supernatural element: in ``The Diving Bear,'' Karen watches a sad circus animal escape its captivity with a fatal fall, and Billy drives away his brutal stepfather in ``Deadly Warm'' by putting rattlesnakes in his bed. Plenty of unsubtle shivers. (Short Stories/Fiction. 10-13) Read full book review >