NIGHTMARE, WITH ANGEL by Stephen Gallagher


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 British TV writer Gallagher makes his US debut in this neo-gothic tale of an unhappy girl who's neglected by her often absent father, who's bent on returning to her highly unsuitable mother--and who runs away from home in the company of a child killer. It's not surprising that 11-year-old Marianne Cadogan, left for days with an unsympathetic housekeeper while her distant father Patrick is away on business, would turn for companionship to Ryan O'Donnell, the scavenger who rescued her and her dog from a sudden squall outside her isolated house. Despite Ryan's repeated truculent warnings, she keeps returning to him--and, when she's finally worn out with grief and loneliness, begs him to go with her to Germany in search of Patrick's estranged wife Annaliese. She doesn't know (and for a long time neither do we) that Ryan's done serious prison time for murdering another young girl years ago, or that Patrick left Annaliese abruptly five years before because he found out she was into wholesale sexual humiliation with a white slaver. So we've got Marianne threatened by a companion who has a long history of homicidal mental disturbance, headed toward a mother whose friends would love to get their hands on her, and pursued by a father determined to kill her protector (if that's what he is). Something's got to give, and it's Annaliese, whose violent death pushes Gallagher's tale over the edge into chop-chop action before the preordained uplifting fade-out. The title says it all. As in disaster movies, whatever may happen to the good guys, the bad guys are sure to be punished in this swift- moving, professional midbrow pulp.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-345-38512-8
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993


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