BREAK OF DARK by Robert Westall


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Five ingenious, atmospheric, solidly grounded stories of the supernatural, each different from the others in mood and effect as well as subject and setting. In the strangest and least persuasive--a schematic variation on the woman-as-witch theme Westall developed in Devil on the Road--a young backpacker meets a naked girl in the woods, makes millions placing bets under her direction, becomes the father of triplets within three months of their conception, and flees in horror at her cold powers. The strongest, a crack workup of WW II airman lore, deals with a British bomber crew, a haunted plane, and the destruction and terror effected by a dying German's radio-transmitted ghost. In the others, an elderly character invented as a hostile practical joke takes on an independent if incorporeal existence; a clergyman finds himself with a ghostly congregation; and, in the only story with a character you feel moved to protect, an earnest young policeman, patronized as ""Sergeant Nice,"" overcomes the eerie forces responsible for a rash of inexplicable disappearances at a peaceful seaside ""family resort."" All five are expertly managed, genuinely suspenseful, and taut to the end.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1982
Publisher: Greenwillow