Dangerous Wishes

William Sleator, Author Dutton Books $14.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-45283-6
Sleator brings the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Thailand alive in lush detail, but the story itself, a sequel to The Spirit House, doesn't come alive until halfway through. Readers who tough out the repetitious narrative and plodding dialogue that set up the situation, though, are in for a snappy supernatural spine-tingler with edge-of-the-seat chase scenes. The action centers around Dom Kamen, an American teen who moves to Bangkok with his parents. Bad luck dogs the Kamens from the moment they arrive. Lek, a street vendor who is Dom's age, tells them that there is a bad spirit in their house. At first incredulous, Dom begins to believe that the spirit comes from a jade carving that his older sister had lost en route to Bangkok three years earlier. The plot machinery creaks a bit to enable Dom to accompany Lek to his native village, but once there it shifts into high gear. In a chase involving practically every type of Thai conveyance, Dom and Lek end up being pursued back to Bangkok by the khwan (malevolent spirit) of a sinister villager who ultimately gets his just deserts in ``spirited'' fashion. An entertaining and empathic fantasy that affords a good glimpse of an exotic culture. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Children's
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