THE TOTEM by David Morrell

THE TOTEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ten years ago Nathan Slaughter had a bad time on the force in Detroit, so he left and came to Potter's Field, Wyoming, where he's now police chief--and where some strange things are happening. The dead body of a camper is discovered by the highway, ripped to pieces, but comes to life and escapes while being autopsied. Then another horribly mutilated body is found. And a boy who has been bitten by a weirdly rabid raccoon goes crazy and attacks his parents. Soon Slaughter, accompanied by a down-at-the-heels reporter/photographer, is scurrying about the countryside unearthing bodies--and is attacked himself by an oversized cat. Slowly it's revealed that a decade ago the town took revenge on a nearby hippie compound, driving the hippies into the hills; and now the hippies have been invaded by an outr‚ virus that has transformed them into primal beasts with antlers, bear parts, cat parts, wolf parts, etc.--and they have developed a lust for salty blood! When the town becomes aware of the state of horror it's in, vigilantes roam about killing packs of infected neighbors: the creatures are driven into an old fair grounds and slaughtered. But surely some small animals are still loose in the hills and carrying the virus--that's right, and as you might expect with a colony of fiends, the town is drenched in a storm of blood and screaming victims who themselves become fiends. Effortfully gruesome, but farfetched and uninspired.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Evans