PLATFORMS by John R. Maxim


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An astral horror story that opens brilliantly, then collapses into tacky melodrama with alternating flashes of interest and boredom. Ad-man Peter Halloran, suburban commuter, is reading the morning paper at his Connecticut town's railroad station when he starts seeing neighbors go by--neighbors who have recently died! Could this be connected to the fact that Peter has been having strange headaches since receiving a near-fatal head injury on the station platform about a half-year ago? Yes indeed: this trauma has given Peter the power to see spirits of folks who are--it turns out--mired in the energy mist at this station, an energy mist that leads people to death and sucks in the souls of all those who lead empty, materialistic lives. An intriguing premise--with technical details partially derived from Stewart White's Unobstructed Universe, a quasi-scientific occult classic about astral energies. But the proceedings become more routine when a team of psychic bloodhounds arrives upon the scene, hoping to prevent a mass death in Connecticut: some misguided astral entity, you see, is trying to help these empty suburban souls get to a better world, but the souls just suffer horrible deaths and get stuck in the energy grid. (Such mass deaths have already been reported elsewhere.) Can the psychics, with help from Halloran, triumph over the entity? And over a human psycho who is killing relatives of the dead so that the dead won't be alone? Uneven and ultimately quite murky--but the provocative ""scientific"" grounding here makes this a better bet than most for fans of psychic terror.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1980
Publisher: Putnam