After a thriller (The Hunting Season, 1987) and a saga (Brothers and Sisters, 1986), Coyne returns to the horror genre that...



After a thriller (The Hunting Season, 1987) and a saga (Brothers and Sisters, 1986), Coyne returns to the horror genre that launched his career, but the unusual premise here--a woman learns that she's the reincarnation of the first human--is overwhelmed by the same excessive pornoviolence that marred The Searing. The Piercing, and Hobgoblin. Jennifer Winters, a bright and pretty Manhattan lawyer, is the very model of a yuppie heroine--but for one problem: every now and then she turns into a superstrong maniac who bare-handedly kills people who are annoying her. It started the day she traded stares with famed New Age channeler Kathy Dart; ever since then. it's been Death Wish V, with Jennifer uncontrollably crushing and ripping up the muggers (and one lech) who have the unhappy knack of preying on her. Hardheaded lover Tom proves no comfort to the distraught woman: neither does channeler Phoebe Fisher, who subtly warns distraught Jennifer away from Kathy and who leads her to see that she's channeling a past self--a self who, a bit later, Kathy Dart explains is an ice Age being. Meanwhile, in brief interchapters overripe with sex and violence and set progressively farther in the past, we read of: an incestuous brother and sister; a 19th-century Chinese girl and her murder: a black American slave and her would-be rapist; homosexual medieval nuns; homosexual Ancient Greeks; an Ancient Egyptian woman; and cave people indulging in rape and murder. When Jennifer at last heads out to Kathy's Midwest healing center and undergoes hypnotic regression, she relives the lives we've read about and realizes that the murderous self possessing her has come to avenge an ancient wrong--leading to a last killing that destroys the unexpected villain and leaves Jennifer at peace. Coyne swaddles all this in New-Ageisms (""the nature of your existence is a reality of the mind,"" etc.). But the blood and lust still soak through: a tart enough tale, then, but tasting distinctly of pulp.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 1989


Page Count: -

Publisher: Warner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1989