"All the right scares in all the right places." The Seattle Times A telephone rings in the dead of night with shocking news for single mother MaryAnne Carpenter: her friends the Wilkensons are suddenly, inexplicably dead, their only child, Joey, a sad and silent adolescent and MaryAnne's godchild, abruptly orphaned. But as MaryAnne rushes with her family to the Wilkenson's ranch to embrace her young charge, disturbing questions mount. Was it an accident that killed her friends? Or murder? Now, as winter transforms the ranch into a place of blinding, dangerous storms, a series of horrific murders, killings that suggest a raging animal and defy solution by the local police, draw ever closer to MaryAnne and her young family.
Despite the high death toll generated by some pretty nasty weapons (claws, fangs, shotgun, fire poker, pitchfork), there's not much terror here because banal details and very ordinary people overwhelm the fear factor. MaryAnne Carpenter, trying to cope with the return of the loutish husband who earlier deserted the family, heads off to Idaho with her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son in order to comfort her recently orphaned godson. Joey Wilkenson's parents have died in mysterious accidents and his mother, MaryAnne's best friend, had named her Joey's guardian. Joey seems an average 13-year-old, if given to understandable bouts of moody withdrawal. But the apparently peaceful mountain valley becomes menacing when a camper is brutally killed, perhaps by an animal, and MaryAnne feels increasingly isolated as winter approaches. Rumors of a wild mountain man or sasquatch circulate, and Joey starts to exhibit strange behavior. Further horrifying events occur, but their final explanation is too pat. A sequel is threatened, but hopefully Saul ( Darkness ) who has done better, will reconsider. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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June 30, 1994
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