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Poppy Z. Brite is the author of eight novels and four short story collections. She began her career as a novelist in 1992 with Lost Souls, which has since established itself as a classic of the horror genre, followed by Drawing Blood, her cult reinvention of the haunted house tale. Her most recent work, including the critically acclaimed novel Liquor, is set in the restaurant world of her native city, New Orleans, where she lives with her husband Chris, a chef and restaurateur. They share their home with an oft-changing but always insane number of cats.
Brite ( Lost Souls ) comes into her own in this second novel that should establish her as not only an adept in the horror genre, but also as a singularly talented chronicler of her generation. Five-year-old Trevor McGee wakes one morning to find that his father, cartoonist Bobby McGee, has murdered his mother and younger brother, then hanged himself. Twenty years later, Trevor, now a cartoonist himself, returns to Missing Mile, N.C. (a fictional town also featured in Lost Souls ), and the now-haunted house of his youth for answers: Why did his father choose to spare his life? What prompted the loss of creativity which Trevor himself now dreads? Meanwhile, 19-year-old Zachary Bosch, himself the tormented result of disturbed parents, arrives in Missing Mile on the lam for computer hacking. The two fall in love, and, with Zach's help, Trevor finds that he can reach the horrible but liberating truth the house holds for him. Though subplots and secondary characters sometimes hamper the pace of the main plot line, they do serve to evoke a certain 20-something, cyberpunk-era zeitgeist that resonates with the concerns of contemporary youth. Author tour. (Nov.)
Zach and Trevor are young men who fall in love in a haunted house where Trevor's father murdered his family and killed himself, sparing only Trevor. An underground cartoonist like his dead father, Trevor has returned to the crumbling house in rural Missing Mile, North Carolina, to learn why his father spared him. Zach is a hacker on the run. He is a popular and exotic extrovert while Trevor is a painfully introverted virgin. With the help of Zach and psilocybin, Trevor confronts his father in Birdland, the comic town that his father created, even as the FBI traces Zach to Missing Mile. Drawing Blood is a flawed but compelling story. It's labeled ``psychological horror,'' but the horror gives way to a suspenseful, offbeat gay romance. The first half, where Brite's powerful characterizations and settings are drawn, is hard to put down. But the haunted house is tame, and Trevor's struggle to learn to love Zach lingers overlong in homoerotic material, straining the momentum. The FBI arrives in time, however, to lend some suspense to the ending. Recommended for public libraries.-- Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svcs., North Billerica, Mass.