Hynd's latest entry in the horror genre (A Room for the Dead, 1994, not reviewed): an uneven tale of past lives, guardian spirits, and treachery that's marked by both the best and the worst qualities of the author's spy novels. When Connecticut suburbanite Rebecca Moore is run off the road, shot at, and nearly killed by a beastlike stranger, the police have doubts that anyone was really trying murder her. Nonetheless, it seems a good time for Rebecca's husband, Bill, to take that job offered by his old college roommate in California. And so Bill, Rebecca, and children Patrick and Karen go to West Los Angeles, where they buy a Queen Anne house right next to the old San Angelo Cemetery. Later, confused by her husband's increasing coldness, Rebecca is floored when her children tell her that a man, ``Ronny,'' has been coming to keep an eye on them and will soon take them away. The children, in fact, do disappear one evening in the company of this ghostlike being: a creature Rebecca later discovers to be Billy Carlton, a silent-movie star, murdered over a half-century earlier, whose body recently burst out of its coffin in San Angelo, hurling a two-ton gravestone 60 feeta fact most intriguing to LAPD Detective Edmund Van Allen. Things heat up when the man who tried to kill Rebecca before comes to town gunning for her again, and Billy/``Ronny'' shows Van Allen who was really behind the plot to murder her, getting a little belated justice for himself while he's at it. Chilling ghost scenes enrich Hynd's suspense-powered plot, but disposable characters and subplots may inspire some to close the graveyard gates mid-service.
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