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 From the author, most recently, of Doll's Eyes (1993): a mild horror novel loaded with domestic description, turnoff vulgarity, and banal writing. Wood is best known for Twins (1977), a novel adapted from real life and later filmed as Dead Ringers with Jeremy Irons in a grandly monstrous dual role as twin gynecologists. Set beside that triumph, The Basement is, well, the basement. For decades, Myra Fox Ludens has been famous among her circle of friends for putting up with the horrid, shivery, smelly basement of her fine Connecticut home. Now she's spent a small fortune to revamp it, get rid of every ghastly feature, and make it suitable for club meetings. Too bad she still can't go down there, even accompanied by her club, without the whole crew getting clammy and having to hustle back upstairs. When she finds out that the ground under her basement holds the 300-year-old bones of a witch hung on nearby Hillgate (``Hellgate'') Hill, who was refused churchyard burial and cast into a grave now under this house, Myra decides on exorcism, and she and some friends set forth to collect the arcane materials for a rite to drive out ghosts. This, however, only upsets the ghost, which apparently decides to reside in Myra herself. Suddenly Myra finds herself gifted with PK, or psychokinetic powers. When her blustery, vile neighbor offends her, Myra unknowingly calls down a plague of bees that sting him to death. Another bad guy, a wife- beater, is sucked to death by a plague of ticks. Wood misfires, however, when she has the novel's greatest menace reduced to a subplot about a hebephrenic woman who becomes possessed and goes on a rampage only Myra can stop. Some lively scenes here and there but largely a wax turkey stuffed with wax grapes.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-13351-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1995