THE SEVENTH CHILD by Brooks Stanwood


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Like The Glow, this glossy, derivative horror novel goes through a lot of occult formulas efficiently enough--without ever being especially believable or scary. Hal Richardson, a marketing exec in L.A. married to abstract painter Judy, is offered a fantastic job with perks galore from Hilliards in tiny Ripton Falls, Conn.--a camping equipment outfit eager to outstrip L. L. Bean. So the Richardsons move into a chic home and begin mixing with similarly zooming upward-mobiles. But, weirdly, Hal finds that his best marketing ideas are put on the back burner, as if the strange Hilliard family really isn't interested in growth--though their money flows in gushes to make Ripton Falls snugly perfect. Then odd events arise among the children: little Tracy Goldin drowns but is brought back to life by a hospital team; Doberman pinschers chase kids through some glass doors; another child is found nearly asphyxiated in the family garage. And when Judy and her friend Margaret begin looking into the town's lost pre-1800 history, they uncover a bizarre painting of children murdered by a fanatical group of seven other children! Margaret is electrocuted in her Jacuzzi; the local Christian minister suicides; Cameron Hilliard displays his collection of antique dolls which have abnormally realistic eyes. And so it goes--until Hal and Judy's daughter Annie is kidnapped for a human sacrifice and Hal bums up the Hilliard coven in a barn fire. Like horror-chocolate gift-wrapped from Bloomingdale's: smoothly readable, predictably foolish, and a lot more successful in conveying conspicuous consumption than thrills or chills.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1981
Publisher: Linden/Simon & Schuster