WHEN THE NIGHT WIND HOWLS by Pamela F. Service

WHEN THE NIGHT WIND HOWLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In her third novel, Service presents an original plot carried out through mediocre characterization and style, resulting in an entertaining but not memorable book. After a family breakup, Sid (for Sidonie), 13, and her mother move to a small Indiana town, becoming involved in the local little theater group as a way of getting acquainted with their neighbors. After a particularly successful run of The Crucible, Sid notices evidence that the theater is haunted, evidence which is corroborated by her new friend Joel, a 14-year-old lighting wizard, and by the janitor. They investigate and discover that the theater's leading man, Byron Vincenti, seems able to call up apparitions at will. After Sid and Joel stumble upon him, literally, while they are spying, Vincenti explains his predicament; in an effort to avoid selling his soul to the Devil after he accidentally called upon him over a century ago, he has given up his soul. It exists in limbo, while he lives only through his performances--the shades are the shadows of the parts he has played. The balance of the book is taken up with efforts to release Vincenti, during which the town's new minister is involved in a dramatic exorcism played onstage. While the plot has some inventive twists, the story is undermined by its stock characters, pointless subplots, and pedestrian language. An interesting idea that goes nowhere.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Atheneum