This Lambda nominated thriller offers the story of a boy, caught in an unimaginably chilling nightmare--a world of magic, body theivery, killer dogs, ESP wars, and lusty, genre-defying sex--where he discovers the horrors--literally--of his ancestry and himself.
An 800-pound gorilla of a horror novel: the powerful, unpredictable, and dreadfully self-indulgent tale of a centuries-old entity. First-novelist Gannett, a former waiter, is that rarity in horror, a serious (if undisciplined) stylist with original ideas as well. His story builds through 59 letters, diary fragments, "chronicles," and so on, told in myriad voices - including those of teenager Torrance Spoor; Torrance's impossibly rich father, Malcolm; Sheila Massif, Torrance's schoolteacher, and Duane Allbright, a psychic. Torrance has been called away from his mom in California to live with his dad in a mansion overlooking the Atlantic; also living there are an eccentric valet, Pip; 12 ferocious hounds with hypnotic eyes; and a hothouse of sentient roses. Torrance, who's gay - there's explicit gay as well as hetero sex here - suspects that his father is a voyeur: Why else the hidden cameras trained on Torrance at all times? But soon a far worse truth unveils: Malcolm is the "Living One," an entity of great psychic powers cursed from medieval times to immortality by fathering a son, then trading bodies with the son and murdering the paternal body in which the son is now trapped, generation after generation - with Torrance as new sacrifice. Turning to Sheila for help, Torrance impregnates her - and draws the attention of Duane, her lover, who realizes that Pip, the roses, and the dogs are key to Malcolm's powers. The action - and overripe prose ("I do not know. I do not know! And the pistol, where is it? He did not bring it! A knife, a knife I could find, oh I am feeling ill!') - swells to a melodramatic crescendo that twists into new life for Malcolm and Torrance - and an uncertain future. Gannett has talent to burn - and sets fire to much of it here. Wild, imaginative, and vastly overwritten, his novel enthralls yet infuriates - and leaves one yearning for his next. (Kirkus Reviews)