Email this review


 Ambitious would-be actors are the pawns of a mysterious evil force in former actress Guerin's hyperventilating suspense debut. Sandra's career is going nowhere fast when, at yet another disastrous audition, she runs into an old pal, the talentless Lori, whose star is on the rise--thanks, she says, to her singing teacher. So Sandra seeks out Madeline and is invited to join her Sunday night group class. The session begins with students sharing a cup of cinnamon-scented tea; a creepy humming ritual precedes the singing. Sandra's confidence is instantly restored so dramatically that she manages to talk her way into a Broadway role she'd previously been denied. But fellow student Ray waylays Sandra and confides that he finds something disturbing about the scene: Isn't it a chilling coincidence, he asks, that all the students are orphans? He begs Sandra to take a class sans tea: Sure enough, it all seems like a scary scam. She rushes off to wring hands with Ray, only to witness him being kidnapped. Then she's taken prisoner herself, and later wakes up in a suburban safe house, where earnest employees of an unnamed government agency convince her that Madeline is working for a mysterious (extraterrestrial? diabolical?) power. Sandra fears that Lori is in mortal danger and leads the agent assigned to protect her back to Madeline's aerie for a showdown. Guerin doesn't make much of her setup--Madeline's students aren't serving up their souls to see their names in lights: They're simply drugged, hypnotized and waiting around for marching orders to wreak unspecified havoc. And how, exactly, is this small army of show-tune-belting zombies going to advance the bad spirit's ill-defined plan? Don't expect a satisfying answer. Silly and overwrought, then, rather than smart or scary, but with enough action, sex, and showbiz maneuvering to keep the pages turning.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-11891-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995