Skull Session

Daniel Hecht, Author
Daniel Hecht, Author Viking Books $23.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-87661-7
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
A hero with unusual strengths and weaknesses gives this debut thriller a large dose of energy and excitement. Paul Skoglund has learned to live with and basically control his Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder, thanks to early training from his caring father and daily doses of haloperidol: ""Motor tics manageable, coprolalia (the swearing associated with Tourette's) very rare, verbal outbursts mostly limited to snatches of song or movie lines, and usually more irritating than offensive to others."" But the drug has also burned away the once sharp edge of his creativity, and Paul has been having a hard time earning a living. So when his eccentric Aunt Vivien offers him a job restoring her old house in Lewisboro, N.Y., Paul is glad to accept, even though it will take him away from his eight-year-old son, Mark, who suffers from neurological troubles of his own. But the old house on the Hudson is no ordinary dwelling. It has been ravaged by vandals, and this destruction is apparently linked to several local teenagers who have vanished in recent months. While state police investigator Morgan Ford looks into the disappearances, Paul and his fearless lover, Lia, find evidence that the vandalism has a more sinister source. Hecht gets the most out of one of literature's most venerable conceits: as Paul delves into the mystery of the old house, he also burrows deeper into the mystery of his own mind. A late injection of X-Files supernatural weirdness is a bit jarring, but it doesn't weaken Paul's credibility or our sympathy for his concerns about his son. After a 15-year-career as a guitarist (truncated due to a hand injury), Hecht has brought welcome artistry and elegance to his new field. (Jan.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X