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A Book Review
by Joy Renee

 

lost boy lost girl
by Peter Straub
Random House, New York
© 2003
281p

Genre: Horror; ghost story; psychological thriller

It's a ghost story. It's a psychological thriller. It’s an exploration of family dynamics in a grossly dysfunctional small-town American family. A young boy disappears in the town of Millhaven, where there is a murderous pedophile on the loose, either the ghost of the one who terrorized the town a generation earlier or a copy-cat. The boy’s mother had recently committed suicide, her motives seeming to be connected to the mysterious, empty and apparently haunted house across the alley from their own. His father is incapacitated by--if not grief exactly--a loss of the context that gave meaning to his carefully controlled life. It is up to the boy’s uncle, a novelist who left Millhaven for New York years ago, to follow the leads left behind by the boy. By questioning the boy’s best friend who had reluctantly helped his buddy in his quest for an explanation of his mother’s suicide. By questioning his own brother about the state of mind his son had been in after finding his mother’s body, about the state of mind his wife had been in the days leading up to her suicide. And last but not least, the elderly gentleman who lived across the street from the vacant house and had witnessed the boy’s invasion of it, and who had clear memories of the days when Millhaven’s first serial-killer had roamed the local neighborhoods.

© 2004 by Joy Renee Davis

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