A DRY SPELL by Susie Moloney


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Conventional ghost-story/romancer about a drifter who brings love, confusion, and, finally, a torrential downpour to an arid North Dakota burg. Long-haired, muscularly handsome Tom Keatley wanders from town to town paying for his next drink by winning $50 barroom bets that he has a psychic ability to make it rain. Alas, he's not very good at exploiting his talent, and, besides, he can't stay in one place too long before bad memories of his abusive father catch up with him. Karen Grange, a former compulsive shopper, is now trying to make amends for piling up a mountain of credit-card debt as the sole employee of an out-of-state bank. She can't bear to foreclose on another farm, but that's about all she's done since being transferred to the Badlands hamlet of Goodlands. Freak accidents and three years of drought have just about destroyed the town's agricultural economy. Of course, Karen--tall, darkly beautiful, and alienated from the heartland types around her--has no reason to suspect that the hideous corpse of a woman who's been dead for a century and who's been accidentally exhumed on Karen's property could possibly have anything to do with so much bad luck. Then, on an appropriately dusty day, Keatley arrives on her doorstep. Karen can't recall sending the letter that summoned him, but she pilfers funds from her bank to pay him a $2,500 deposit to end Goodlands' drought. Business and passion combine as Keatley discovers an evil spirit that possesses some of the town's inhabitants, and forces them to say ""ashes to ashes, dust to dust"" while they perform acts of mayhem. A few neighbors think the elimination of Keatley and Karen just might solve all their problems, forcing the story to a predictable storm-tossed climax. Canadian writer Moloney's second novel (but first to appear here) is a tepid Horse Whisperer rewrite using Stephen King conventions even too worn and weary for him.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 386pp
Publisher: Delacorte