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In this deluxe reprint of a novel first published in 1994, Stoke Award winner Clegg (Naomi; The Nightmare Chronicles; etc.) piles horror upon horror, but nothing is really objectionable or repulsive because the story's not in the least bit believable. Hope Stewart, a child who unknowingly bears a mysterious, double-edged gift, can either heal or destroy. When Stephen Grace, the sinister "Shadow," kidnaps Hope, his orders are to remove one of her eyes, then kill her. Shadow achieves his first aim, but a timely automobile accident lands both of them in the hospital before he can carry out his second. The pace picks up after Hope's divorced mother kidnaps her from the hospital and flees to Empire, a small and allegedly typical California town, the home of an old boyfriend. Shadow and the seemingly affable Matt, more often acting as "Monkey," one of Matt's multiple, all-mad personalities who believe "imperfection should be hacked off," pursue Hope to California. The parade of grotesques includes a geek who thinks he's a werewolf, raids chicken coops and bites off chicken heads; a mysterious underground cult called Cthonos, which has murdered scores of children; and a maniacal and disfigured nine-year-old boy who figures in a catalogue of awful events that have plagued Empire. Luckily for her, Hope belatedly realizes that she has "power!" There's a surprise a page, and while devotees will relish this omnibus of unexpected horrors, others may find it too mechanical and parodic.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.