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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

In Silent Graves

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 crazy.

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. Gary Braunbeck 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 fortune.

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