KUNMA by Frank Corsaro


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First novel—and a horror novel at that—by veteran opera director Corsaro.

Eight years ago, David Sussman went to India to sit at the feet of Rajneesh, and when he returned to Manhattan’s Psychiatric Institute he tried to get the Institute to bring Buddhist ideas to bear on the its method of analysis. For that, he was tossed out. Although he has some Buddhist trimmings in his office and technique, Dr. Sussman will strike few as a therapist of great resources when he reduces analysis to “games people play”—but we know he’ll pay for his simple-mindedness. Beautiful millionairess Laurel Hunt approaches him to look into the case of her prominent art dealer husband, who has been invaded, she says, by an evil entity or malevolent force that David comes to know as “Kunma.” His wife ties Hugh Caswell Hunt’s breakdown to the murder of Charles Kirkwood Palfrey, acting head of the Hunt Galleries in London, whose tongue was ripped out. When David interviews Hugh and reads up on him, he decides to transfer Laurel to bubbling occultist Dr. Ara Havakian, who warns David about Kunma but then has his own tongue ripped out and his brain chewed by canine-like incisors. Can it be the work of Tibet’s brain-eating Tolos monster? A tape Ara made of Laurel reveals that her husband is bisexual and that she’d had an affair with the late Charles Palfrey. David beds her, too, and she tells him that now he’ll also be on Kunma’s list. Then the drooling mouth and teeth of dead Palfrey savagely attack Laurel’s genitals. When David at last faces tongueless Kunma, a soul trapped in hell, he finds the thing seeking him as a teacher. Can David’s answers lie in the Tibetan Book of the Dead when he finds himself part of Kunma’s karmic destiny?

Corsaro’s karma? Still in question.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-765-30472-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2003