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 First adult novel by a children's author who already sells better than Stephen King, with 45 million copies in print of his 56 titles: a serial-killer suspense story that turns into romantic horror. Stine's tale opens with a strong shock as a young woman has her scalp ripped off, spine cracked, eyes thumbed out, and insides removed; then it lapses into a kind of depthless, mirror-smooth chitchat somewhere between YA and adult levels made up before your very eyes and not bearing a second thought. Sara Morgan, 24, has lost her Manhattan job at Concord Publishing, split from her psychotic boyfriend Chip, and returned to Moore State College to earn a grad degree in psychology. At a seafood restaurant with her close friend Mary Beth Logan, she meets handsome, charming, superstition-ridden Liam O'Connor, visiting professor of folklore. He's a Daniel Day-Lewis look-alike who lives with his sister Margaret and definitely is flirting with Sara. Then Milton Cohn, dean of students, a self-amused body-builder and knife collector who's always cutting his hands, offers Sara a part-time job largely because of her big breasts (such are the book's plot ploys). Soon more bodies drop and insides spill, including those of Liam's old girlfriend from Chicago as well as Chip's from Manhattan. The irresistible Liam comes onto Sara like Maxim de Winter roping in the second Mrs. de Winter, insistently charming and marrying her. On his bad tongue days, a huge purple three-foot tongue with a mind of its own slithers out of him. But who sends Sara four bloody rabbit's feet warning her about Liam? And Margaret and Milton, well, very special things happen to them. A face-off with Liam's demons of superstition is as foreseeable as steam on a rainy window. With zillions of aging young readers awaiting his newest work, Stine's may be just the fresh-flowing jolt of harmless horror pap to turn cash registers rhapsodic. (Film rights to Miramax; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1995
ISBN: 0-446-51953-7
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995


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