Instead of grisly horror stories, McDonald (The Chilling Hour, 1992, etc.) specializes in psychological suspense with a...

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SHADOWS AND WHISPERS: Tales from the Other Side

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 -- à 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.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Cobblehill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994