More slick, traditional horror from James, whose Possession (1988) vigorously milked every clichÉ of the classic ghost...



More slick, traditional horror from James, whose Possession (1988) vigorously milked every clichÉ of the classic ghost story. Here, a woman's precognitive nightmares are the hook for the British novelist's second foray into the supernatural (three straight thrillers of his have yet to appear here). Londoner Samantha (""Sam"") Curtis, mom to little Nicky and wife to ambitious financier Richard, is the upscale TV-ad exec who begins to dream of future tragic events: an airplane crash, a rape-murder in a tube station. Each nightmare is a cleverly crafted set-piece of terror, and each features Sam as victim, and someone else as villain: Slider, the crazed killer with a deformed hand whom Sam killed in self-defense when she was only seven. The psychiatrist and dream-study group to whom Sam desperately turns offer only pat Freudian explanations, and Richard's too busy doing shady dealings with sinister Swiss banker Andreas Berensen--who wears a glove on one hand!--to pay her much attention. Sam's kind boss offers a shoulder to cry on--and a bed to sleep in--but things get only worse after a medium tells Sam that she has no future, and then Slider apparently leaps from dream to reality to wreak havoc at a dream-research center that Sam visits. Meanwhile, Sam's family troubles increase as authorities start to investigate Richard for insider-trading. Anxious to hide his illegal profits, Richard races with Sam to Switzerland. There, the vile source of Sam's woes is unmasked, then swept off a cliff by an avalanche that leaves Sam with a broken leg and fibs but a healed psyche at last. A concluding chapter awkwardly cobbles together loose ends--before shuddering to a stop with Sam waking from a final nightmare: ""She looked back at Richard and smiled. 'It was just a dream.'"" As unoriginal as Possession (Slider is nearly a twin to Freddy Kreuger of A Nightmare on Elm Street film-fame), but still fair entertainment, with a likable heroine, some genuine scares, and a mystery that will keep readers guessing--up to the disappointing solution.

Pub Date: July 18, 1990


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1990