Andrew Klavan, a two-time Edgar Award-winner, is the author of Don't Say a Word, The Animal Hour, and True Crime, among other novels.
Few people can resist a ghost story, and this one by two-time Edgar Award winner Klavan (True Crime, LJ 4/15/95) is bewitching. Set in England, with the requisite crumbling abbey haunted by a nun, it concerns a man's demonic quest for eternal life. Klavan updates the old-fashioned ghost story to include a Hollywood producer protagonist, the Nazi theft of some of Europe's best art, and a religious cult. The plot moves forward smoothly, the characters are plausible, and the literary quotes are enriching. Most noteworthy, though, is the structure: The story line is interrupted several times by ancient ghost stories. Intriguing in their own right, they also hold important clues to the current mystery's solution. Recommended for most collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/97.]‘Dorothy S. Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro
Thriller fans who expect the unexpected from Klavan (True Crime) won't find that anticipation dashed with his new novel, a series of clever riffs on the classic ghost story. The main plot follows the adventures of Richard Storm, 40, a producer of Hollywood horror films who's come to England to work on Bizarre! magazine, find a real-life ghost story and, perhaps, win some emotional relief from the cancer rotting his brain. At a party, Richard reads aloud "Black Annie," the ghost story that inspired his career (which story Klavan presents in all its neo-gothic glory, as one of several ghost tales embedded in the narrative). One partygoer, beautiful Sophia Endering, drops her glass in shock while listening. She, Richard learns, has lived some of the events of "Black Annie," which centers around the sacrifice of a youngster‘a sacrifice explained through an ancient tale recorded by the great dark fantasist M.R. James (whose widow makes a cameo here). The sacrifice is also depicted in an ancient, disassembled triptych now sought by a diabolical presence known as St. Iago, because the triptych, when whole, reveals the secret to immortality‘and its terrible price. Klavan pulls out all the stops, repeatedly blindsiding the reader with shifts in plot, tone and point of view, peopling his tale with wild eccentrics and wilder settings, winking at the genre but honoring it too, right through the over-the-top climax set in a ruined abbey on a dark and stormy night. Not all of the Sturm und Drang works (Klavan's principals, especially, are more caricature than character), but suspense is high, the fun factor higher, and Klavan, cackling all the while, demonstrates again that his ability to make a genre his own is simply... uncanny. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany and Italy. (Feb.)
He's searching for the miraculous. She's fighting to stay alive. Together, they might just have a chance. . . . "Gripping...a modern ghost story...the results are exhilarating." --Chicago Tribune "Glamorous, eccentric and engrossing. . . .a sort of upscale X-Files." --St. Petersburg Times (Fla.) "Entertaining." --The Orlando Sentinel "Klavan pulls out all the stops . . . .The suspense is high, the fun factor higher." --Publishers Weekly "Shrewd...Lively...Fun." --The Seattle Times