TWILIGHT by Peter James


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 If James already hadn't published three novels (Sweet Heart, 1991; Dreamer, 1990; Possession, 1988), you might think that Robin Cook was the pseudonymous author of this feverish mix of medical terror and occult thrills. Like Cook, James pits a feisty young heroine--journalist Kate Hemingway--against a diabolical medical plot: An attempt by British anesthesiologist Harvey Swire to confirm the existence of life after death by plunging patients into a state of clinical death, then reviving them and questioning them about their out-of-body experiences during ``death.'' As in Cook, much of this consistently antic action takes place in a hospital: At one point, Kate lies helpless on an operating table as Swire gets to work. And earlier on, she spends time nestled next to a frozen corpse, another favorite Cook ploy. But there's much otherworldly weirdness here as well, beginning in the opening flashbacks, which find budding psychopath Swire being hit by a car, dying and returning to life, then developing the ability to separate from his body at will--a power he uses to spy on and rape his cheating girlfriend. Years later, Kate stumbles onto Swire's trail while digging into the case of a woman (a Swire victim) buried alive--as evidenced in a ghastly exhumation scene. Swire and his funeral-parlor henchmen cover up the error by switching bodies, but Kate sees through the ruse (by breaking into the funeral parlor, where she endures her tryst with the frozen corpse), and she pursues the mad doctor--despite being warned off by her dead brother during a sÇance--right into Swire's underground lair, where he rushes at her, hypodermic in hand.... As silly as they come, with an especially cartoonish villain, but James meshes scalpels and spiritualism nicely, and offers some good scares along the way.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08914-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993


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