NIGHTWORLD

Cataclysmic horror novel, sixth and final in a series begun with The Keep (1981). This is something of an omnibus, bringing together characters from the earlier novels in a last fight against the evil entity first met in The Keep, wherein Nazis occupying a Rumanian castle released the then vampire, timeless entity Rasalom. Although Rasalom seemed driven off, he reappeared as the motherless clone in Reborn (1990), which fathered the genius baby in Reprisal (1991). Now Rasalom, gestating in a cave in the earth beneath Central Park's Sheep Meadow, begins his final assault, feeding on humankind's fears and negativity for the force needed to occupy the planet. Rasalom faces Glaeken, his ancient enemy for good, who lives with his disease-ravaged wife Madga (girl heroine of The Keep) over Central Park West, but both opponents are pawns for forces of Good and Evil who battle on a scale that takes no account of human existence. The present novel has enough whiplash plot and flying horror to suffice for its own needs, although it often reads like Ghostbusters gone berserk. Sunrise comes late, sunset early as Rasalom shrinks earth's daylight. He opens a bottomless 200-year pit in the Sheep Meadow that goes not to China but to another dimension. Out of it fly horrible acid-bag bugs and chomping piranha bats, as night falls, and at last night falls permanently. Many heroes and heroines from earlier novels gather with Glaeken to fight Rasalom with dat-tay-vao, a miraculous Vietnamese necklace whose talent also inhabits the once-autistic child Jeffy. While giant black flying leviathans eat aircraft, more holes appear around the earth, one forming a whirlpool off Hawaii that causes the island to disappear under a reawakened volcano chain. Will Glaeken and the sword of day-tay-vao save mankind—and this novel get published? Gripping and gruesome super-comic-book stuff—but let's hope this is it.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-913165-71-9

Page Count: 325

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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