Synopses & Reviews
A woman commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son—beautiful, troubled fifteen-year-old Mark Underhill—vanishes from the face of the earth. To his uncle, horror novelist Timothy Underhill, Mark’s inexplicable absence feels like a second death. After his sister-in-law’s funeral, Tim searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help him unravel this mystery of death and disappearance. He soon learns that a pedophilic murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before his mother’s suicide Mark had become obsessed with an abandoned house where he imagined the killer might have taken refuge. No mere empty building, the house on Michigan Street whispers from attic to basement with the echoes of a long-hidden true-life horror story, and Tim Underhill comes to fear that in investigating its unspeakable history, Mark stumbled across its last and greatest secret: a ghostly lost girl who may have coaxed the needy, suggestible boy into her mysterious domain.
With lost boy lost girl, Peter Straub affirms once again that he is the master of literary horror.
From the Hardcover edition.
"[A] brilliant variation on the haunted house tale....With great compassion and in prose as supple as mink, Straub has created an exciting, fearful, wondrous tale about people who matter, in one of his finest books to date." Publishers Weekly
"This is the great novel of the supernatural Straub has always had it in him to write, one as beautiful, moving, and spiritually rich as the best stories in his dazzling collections Houses Without Doors (1990) and Magic Terror (2000)." Ray Olson, Booklist
"The veteran horror writer's circuitous 16th outing....Strikingly imagined indeed, but the zigzag structure blurs the momentum and effect of what might have been one of Straub's best." Kirkus Reviews
A woman kills herself for no apparent reason. A week later, her teenage son, Mark, disappears. The vanished boy's uncle, Timothy Underhill familiar to Straub's readers from Koko and The Throat is compelled to return to his hometown of Millhaven to discover what he can. A madman known as the Sherman Park Killer has been haunting the neighborhood, but Underhill believes that Mark's obsession with a local abandoned house is at the root of his disappearance. He fears that in peeling back the house's hideous secrets, Mark came across its last and greatest secret a lost girl, one who has coaxed Mark deeper and deeper into her mysterious domain, where he must encounter a fearsome adversary.
From the bestselling author of Black House and Mr. X springs a groundbreaking story of the persistence of evil, told with tantalizing ambiguity and structural audacity.
About the Author
Peter Straub is the author of sixteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in New York City with his wife, Susan, director of the Read to Me program.