A psychiatric hospital in Never, Ky., forms the locus for all sorts of occult and paranormal activities.
Forest has just aged out of the foster-care system and is new on the job at Lincoln Psychiatric, hoping to earn enough money to get to college. Darius has also just taken a job at Lincoln to save money for college. Trina is Darius’ girlfriend, and she leaves college to take an internship at Lincoln. And Levi—since Levi was murdered and then brought back to life (sort of) by his grandmother, “granny-woman” Imogene—has haunted the halls of Lincoln, helping the recently dead “cross over” and keeping tabs on all of the malevolent spirits that Lincoln seems to attract. Though born at and living in different times, the four teens converge for a series of paranormal adventures. In four linked novellas, each teen tells a story of utmost creepiness, but aside from the locale and atmosphere, there is little overarching logic. The paranormal knack that comes with “Madoc blood”—descent from the Welsh prince who, according to folklore, came to the New World in 1170—is one element, but there’s also witchcraft and plenty of garden-variety evil. The central question of exactly what makes Lincoln such a magnet for ghosts, haints, shades and whatnot is never satisfactorily addressed.
Readers content to do without the plotted throughline of a novel will find plenty of effective horror set pieces here. (Horror. 14 & up)