Fifteen-year-old Matthew Moore seems to have a charmed life . . . until a mysterious fire forces his grandmother to move in with his family. The elderly woman insists on recreating the bedroom of Cynthia, her favored child who died tragically more than a decade ago. Soon Matt's life insidiously begins to change. At night he finds himself haunted by nightmares of unimaginable terror. In the morning the smell of Cynthia's perfume seems to linger in his room. While his grandmother drives a wedge between his once devoted parents, Matt transforms from a gregarious teenager to a hostile loner. Then a shocking tragedy shatters the family beyond repair--as a horrific shadow from the past takes on an implacable life of its own, clawing toward Matt with ferocious hunger. . . .
The life of high school student Matt Hapgood turns into the stuff of nightmares when his grandmother moves in with his family. She brings with her the terrifying spirit of her dead daughter, Cynthia, the beautiful, beloved, older sister of Matt's mother, Joan, who had been the tormented, abused younger child. All the suffering of those early years is brought into Matt's household from the moment his stepfather is shot to death while they are hunting together. Soon Matt, his mother, and his grandmother have horrifying visions of Cynthia in all her malevolent beauty, and they watch helplessly as she instigates brutal killings. But is it really Cynthia There are hints that perhaps Joan has taken on her sister's persona, and the answer is left until the last page. It is unfortunate that Saul's leaden prose has turned a provocative theme into a boring novel. This book has little to offer, but the author is popular (e.g., Second Child), and librarians should expect large reader demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/00.]--Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Bowie, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . very good mystery, will keep you guessing
Posted January 15, 2010 by Kimberly P. , MississippiThe book really takes off from the beginning. I kept wondering who was behind the evilness that was happening to this All-American family. My only complaint was the authors repeating of same lines over and over. There are a few parts that are really sad, some might should have been left out but overall a very good book.
May 28, 2001
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Excerpt from Nightshade by John Saul
It was the kind of perfect fall afternoon that erased even the memory of the blanket of heat and humidity that summer ' s end had laid over this part of New Hampshire. The first frost had struck a week ago: the leaves of the ancient maples and oaks that lined the streets of Granite Falls were just beginning their annual transformation, their edges barely hinting at the riot of color that would develop in another couple of weeks. As Joan Hapgood slid her Range Rover into the slot that seemed to have been left just for her only a few steps from the Rusted Rooster ' whose original name had long ago given way to the condition of the sign that hung over its door ' she considered the possibility of driving up to Quebec for the weekend. She ' d heard of a terrific little inn with a view of the St. Lawrence, and just that much farther north the trees would already be in full regalia, their colors so brilliant as to be almost blinding. But as she glanced at her watch ' exactly one minute before two, when she and Bill had agreed to meet for a late lunch ' she was already beginning to catalog the reasons why they wouldn ' t be able to take off for the weekend.
First, there was the opening day of hunting season, which she knew Bill wouldn ' t miss. Her husband ' along with nearly every one of his friends ' regarded the opening day of hunting season with the same reverence most people reserved for religious holidays. But it had always been that way in Granite Falls: the hunting fervor had become so entrenched among the Granite Falls families that could trace their roots back to the seventeenth century that Joan (whose own roots went back only to her mother) suspected it was actually in their genes. But it wasn ' t the kind of hunting that was fashionable in other places ' in the small enclaves of old, if somewhat diminished, wealth farther south, where ducks and foxes were the favored prey.
In Granite Falls, it was deer.
' We ' ve always hunted deer, ' Bill Hapgood had explained. ' It ' s just the way it ' s always been. We ' re not pretentious people up here ' it ' s not like it is down in Connecticut and places like that. We hunt in the woods, we hunt on foot, and we eat what we shoot. '