By Gary A. Braunbeck
Leisure Books, 378 pp, 2004
Robert Londrigan is a successful TV new
reporter. He's about to get offered a coveted anchor position and his
beautiful wife Denise is pregnant. Life is good.
But disaster strikes on Halloween night.
Denise dies and do does the unborn girl. Worse, the baby's body is
stolen and Robert is attacked by some nutcase yelling nonsense and
calling him Willy. Robert ends up with a badly broken nose (the poor guy
really takes a pounding throughout the book).
This tragedy makes Robert realize that
he's been a selfish, unfeeling jerk for much of his life and regrets
that he didn't treat Denise better. But there's more. The nutcase who
beat him up is stalking him at his home and his sister's home. Strange
things are happening that Robert cannot explain and he thinks he's going
Then he learns that the nutcase who beat
him up is actually his friend who needs Robert to bring back Denise, who
isn't really dead. Well, the woman he knew as Denise is dead, but that
wasn't the real Denise. The real Denis is a bit more... complicated. Not
to mention incomplete (you'll know what I mean when you read the book).
To top all that off, former lovers from
Robert's past are cropping up with cryptic messages. He is also starting
to become aware that there is another world out there, unknown to most
folks, and it's in trouble.
So that's the premise. I can't tell much
more because it will give too much away.
Now, this is a horror novel, but I think
it can also be a fantasy, more specifically a dark fantasy.
creates an interesting alternative world based on time and mythology,
some classic fantasy elements.
Regardless of the genre, it's a good
novel, scary at times, with a compelling protagonist. I don't know if
there is an antagonist, though, which makes it interesting or confusing,
depending on your point of view.
Though he's not a big name, Braunbeck has
been around for a while, having published around 200 short stories and a
few other novels. I think he deserves a bit more exposure, fame, and