Superstitious

R. L. Stine, Author Grand Central Publishing $32 (400p) ISBN 978-0-446-51953-3
Stine has written 56 YA novels and one adult novel, all horror. Readers will recognize this as the adult novel because it's hardcover and several characters in it curse, enjoy X-rated sex and die gruesomely detailed deaths. Otherwise, this simple, sturdy story of occult mayhem on a bucolic college campus features the sort of crude yet functional casting, plotting and prose that have made Stine America's bestselling YA author: characters verge on caricature, for easy identification; stormy nights and cliff-hangers abound; and no-frills prose, arranged in short sentences and paragraphs for speed reading, tells the tale (``The fingers stab deep. Her eyeballs make a soft plop plop as they are pried out''). Even those with minimal attention spans will keep turning pages as grad student Sara Morgan meets and marries hunky prof Liam Morgan. So what if Liam has a murky past, lives with his sister and takes his field--Irish folklore--so seriously that he throws salt over his shoulder for good luck and cringes in terror when a black cat jumps on his lap? Does that mean he's involved in the brutal mutilation-murders that are plaguing Moore State? Stine shakes a finger at two other suspects but doesn't reveal the reason for the bloodletting until novel's end. And that's just as well since, like the rest of this story, the underlying premise is about as sophisticated, though as effective, as jumping out from a dark corner and yelling ``boo!'' Major ad/promo; film rights to Miramax (Brandon Tartikoff, producer); Time/Warner audio due in October; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
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