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THE FORBIDDEN ZONE by Whitley Strieber

THE FORBIDDEN ZONE

By Whitley Strieber

Pub Date: July 8th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93683-1
Publisher: Dutton

 Strieber's horror novels often rework classic occult themes (Unholy Fire: possession; The Hunger: vampirism, etc). Now, in an unusually spooky--and splattery--offering, the author updates the monstrous mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, to whom he dedicates the book. The eerie doings pile on quickly, beginning with physicist Brian Kelly hearing screams emanating from a mound in his hometown of Oscola, New York. Years back, Brian's first wife and child died in a fire, and ever since he's been a wreck, abandoning his time- travel experiments and cringing at the screams he still can hear- -and so Brian wonders whether he's imagining this scream, until his new and pregnant Vietnamese wife, Loi, also hears it. A dig, however, reveals only dirt. But later that night, newspaperwoman Ellen Maas visits the dig and is swarmed by a horde of huge lightning bugs that nearly suffocates her, while Brian, also returning to the mound, is mesmerized by purple lights that crackle with sexual energy. The next day, screaming is heard at another site, and this time digging reveals the corpse of a woman, every bone in her body pulverized--but her left eye still glimmering with evil intent. Ellen and Brian team up to investigate, evoking Loi's jealousy--but when the menace fully reveals itself in the form of further animate corpses bursting open to loose further swarms of lightning bugs, the corpses then mutating into gigantic tentacled creatures that ferociously shred the town and its inhabitants--it's Loi who leads the fight. But can she combat this superintelligent creature, freed from a parallel universe by Brian's old experiments, before it destroys her--as well as her baby, squirming to be born? Genuinely scary, with plenty of scattered body parts for gorehounds--but subtle it is not, and the Providence recluse was scarier still, by saying less and implying far more.