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Tides [Hardcover]

Melanie Tem
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 8 1996
From the author of REVENANT and DESMODUS, a horror novel set in a nursing home, in which the psychologically imbalanced mother of a young nursing home administrator decides to possess the lives of the home's residents in order to win back her first husband and the attentions of her daughter.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty-eight-year-old Rebecca (Becky) Emig has her hands full. A new position as an administrator at The Tides--a nursing home for senile, elderly, handicapped and insane residents--leaves her little time for her crumbling personal life. Compounding her stress, she has begun experiencing bizarre hallucinations and strange childhood memories after she is mysteriously drawn to visit an empty lake bed behind the nursing home. And her father, Marshall, who is an Alzheimer's patient at The Tides, has begun calling her "Faye," a name Becky does not recognize, but which is inexplicably on the lips of all the patients. Marshall claims that Faye is the one responsible for the recent rash of perplexing "accidents" (a suicide, a poisoning, a car wreck, etc.) that have left several patients and staff dead and have authorities threatening to shut down the place. Faye turns out to be Marshall's first wife, a destructive woman whose very existence he and his second wife have kept hidden from Becky. Tem (Desmodus) makes good use of this dramatic irony as Becky struggles to uncover a family secret the reader already knows. Meanwhile, the enigmatic traces of Faye's presence (the intoxicating odor of roses, a visual disturbance in the air) as well as her ability to infiltrate others' thoughts and control their actions, keep readers wondering whether the woman is human or demon. The answer may be different for each of Tem's distinctive and carefully drawn characters. (Aug.)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Tide Is Out Aug. 15 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The cover of this book is a marketing mistake - the eerie yellowish green with the foreboding building in the foggy background (which, by the way is not even close to the description of the building in the novel) denotes a cheesy horror treat, the kind that are great for summers in a rented beach cottage or passing along to your teenage kids. This one came to me used and I opened it to realize it actually had a plot and storyline which was not pockmarked every ten pages by a gruesome murder. It had real promise. It's a shame it was so difficult to get through. However it was also not marketed as a ghost story and a rather intellectual one at that which may be the problem with the book. Even the author can't figure out which audience to target. The story of a nursing home administrator, her hospitalized father, and her (perhaps, perhaps not) long dead mother returning to claim her baby had the beginnings of a solid story but the writing is abrupt and sometimes without segue, leaving the reader lost and requiring a recap. The character of the heroine - Rebecca - seems as if she needs a good slap to wake her up from her disorganization and lack of any personal life. It was hard for me to actually like her and root for her as she seemed insipid and boring. The more interesting characters are the patients and residents of The Tides and I wish the author would have given us more backstory on them - in fact they would have made a wonderfully creepy book. The ending fell completely flat and left me wanting more. The plot is resolved yet we never figure oout what happenes to the characters. The Tides started coming in strong and never quite made the grade for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Humane and well written July 7 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A series of sinister accidents occurs at The Tides, a nursing home where Rebecca Emig is both administrator and the daughter of one of the patients. Are the visions of Rebecca's father, Marshall, real or senile delusions? Are they linked to these accidents? And how will they change Rebecca's life and that of every resident of the home? Melanie Tem has been around for a long time. She's the winner of the Bram Stoker Award, wife to Steve Rasnick Tem, himself a very well-respected writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and she knows her craft. She writes a good, tight narrative in which nothing is wasted and every detail tells a larger story. And those details are blunt; this story, while not gory, is not for readers with delicate sensibilities. The subject matter - residents of a nursing home, mostly elderly, many suffering senile dementia - is something I find hard to deal with for personal reasons, but if that were not the case, I suspect I would still find it all very disturbing. Tem has done her time in social work, and the details here ring true. She is writing what she knows, and this gives the book a firm underpinning of truth. Perhaps that's the most disturbing element of all. If this were simply a wild and wooly horror novel, it would be easy to forget.
As it is, this book will stay with you long after the storyline has ceased to creep you out. There is an almost unpleasant vividness to the characters which makes each twist all the more horrifying. This isn't about Freddie or Jason or any boogeyman, this is about what happens inside our heads when reality slips. And it's about the things that are, perhaps, just waiting on the sidelines for that moment.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't get this one April 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rebecca is the new administrator at The Tides nursing home. She is in way over her head (no pun intended) as she is too young and inexperienced to run the home. Also, her father Marshall is a patient there and he is being haunted by his ex-wife, Faye, who cases massive mayhem among the patients at the home resulting in deaths, etc., etc. If Faye a ghost? A demon? A powerful manifestation of Marshall's memory? Actually, I am not completely sure. That is never really explained. Also never really explained is what the drained lake behind the nursing home has to do with Faye, or anything else for that matter. I could be suddenly stupid or something, but I am not totally sure exactly what happened in this book, even after I read it. Don't get me wrong. The book was fairly entertaining and a fast read, but afterwards I was thinking, "huh?" Not up to Melanie Tem's usual standards.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A rare clunker from Tem. July 23 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A haunted nursing home -- not the sort of thing I'd have picked up on sight, but I loved the three other books I've read by Melanie that I was willing to try anything. As one of the blurbs states, she is unequalled in the realm of familial horror.

It's a disappointment -- and a surprise -- that this novel is dull for the most part. Occasional hauntings permeate the book, but most of the story is concerned with the mundane lives of the home's inhabitants. If you're interested in that sort of thing, maybe you'll like this book more than I did. The pace doesn't change until the end, a sudden and inexplicable conclusion that doesn't satisfy on any level. THE TIDES lacks the gripping psychological drama of PRODIGAL or the imaginative reinvention of horror standards of WILDING. Let's hope her next novel is up to par.
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