For a while this novel does indeed read like a ""horror story,"" and a fairly creepy one at that; but it soon swerves into a police procedural with very little tension and never builds to any kind of horror climax. Seth Moran, an industrial designer from New York, is driving with his family through the New Hampshire woods near a lake when he finds that they've lost their way--and then they're suddenly surrounded by three motorcycles that box them in and lead them to an armed group of youngish men and women. This is the ""Community,"" and its members mistreat Seth, his wife Maggie, and their six-year-old daughter, strip and search them, and then lead them to their paranoid and racist leader--a busted Vietnam general called ""The Beginning."" Seth is separated from the others, and--after being forced to watch The Beginning indulging in oral sex with his nude consorts--is interrogated by the crazy leader, who announces that Seth must take a handgun into Boston and kill a black family. . . or else the Community will rape Maggie and the child. Seth is blindfolded, driven into Boston and released, but he fails to perform the killing--he's arrested by the Massachusetts police, grilled, thought insane, and yet at last persuades them of the danger his family faces. Then the Massachusetts police must convince the New Hampshire police, who in turn mount a SWAT team to go and hit the Community. . . . Enough vile ingredients for any horror/melodrama junkie--but the souffle never rises.