THE UNCANNY by Andrew Klavan


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 In an effort to mix literary stylishness with gothic convention, Klavan (True Crime, 1995, etc.) stuffs an American film director into a badly padded English ghost story. When told that he has a brain tumor, Richard Storm, 40, who has directed more than 20 successful Hollywood horror films, abandons his work, moves to London, and joins the two-man staff of Bizarre!, a magazine about the paranormal that he respects and that may actually lead him to a few hard facts in proof of an afterlife. The staff: middle-aged Harper Albright, who smokes a death's-head meerschaum pipe and carries a sword cane, and her seemingly gay son Bernard, a computer whiz. Then Storm finds himself falling for Sophia Endering, a young woman almost half his age, who helps her wealthy father, Sir Michael, run an art gallery. Sophia is confronted by a Resurrectionist, who tells her that he will be murdered that night and that whoever buys a panel from the famous Rhinehart triptych of the Holy Family (soon going up for auction at Sotheby's) will be his killer. The triptych, an art treasure looted by German occultists who were helping to guide Hitler, has just surfaced. When Sir Michael sends Sophia to Sotheby's with instructions to buy the panel at any price, Sophia thinks her father a murderer, goes batty, and tries to hang herself. Storm arrives at just that moment, though, to save her. The two fall in love but soon find themselves fending off Saint Iago, a devil incarnate and the father of Bernard, who once murdered his entire band of followers (and who must sacrifice his own children to maintain eternal youth). What's he after? A formula for longevity that's encoded in the Rhinehart triptych. A cocktail of the feisty and the fusty, flavored with bitters by Bernard but with too much sweet vermouth and too watery by half.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-609-60112-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997


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