Peregrine's Rest

Jennifer Gostin, Author
Jennifer Gostin, Author Permanent Press (NY) $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-877946-74-5
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Despite some ghoulish fun and literate prose, Gostin's first novel, set on and around Halloween in an old Maryland cemetery, walks cardboard eccentrics through a creaky plot. Hesper Dance, live-in caretaker of Peregrine's Rest, a graveyard founded in 1848, is a manic-depressive, introverted ex-librarian who seeks refuge from life's disappointments by communing with the dead. Her lifelong ambition is to see a ghost. Inadvertently aiding her in this quest is her new assistant, Quentin Pike, world traveler, adventurer, mapmaker, and Lydia Webkin, a septuagenarian comic-book collector. Ghostly doings will ultimately unite Hesper and Quentin in romantic love, while Lydia, haunted by the spirit of a dead cartoonist with whom she had an affair 40 years ago, attracts evil in the person of twins Argus and Audrey Malvin, a deadly brother-and-sister team prone to grave-robbing, counterfeiting and malice. This offbeat entertainment is full of comic-book and cemetery lore, and Gostin spikes the spooky intrigue with deft approaches to the question of whether we are bound to our bodies or whether something survives (Sept.)