Wither

John Passarella, Author, Gangemi, Author Pocket Books $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-671-02480-2
Sabrina the Teenage Witch goes to college in this atmospheric, generally suspenseful horror story. Wendy Ward is a white magic practitioner who dresses in shades of black, and an unconventional freshman at exclusive Danfield College in Massachusetts, where her father is president. Windale, the town where Danfield is located, has been promoting its past persecution of witches as a tourist draw, hoping to cash in on the popularity of nearby Salem. On the eve of the King Frost Halloween Parade, Wendy performs an empowering ritual that goes awry, unleashing dark forces hundreds of years old. Three murderous Macbethian witches, led by the semi-immortal Elizabeth Wither, begin to haunt Wendy's dreams, as well as those of a pregnant English professor and an eight-year-old girl. As it becomes apparent that there is a curse on Windale, Wendy desperately attempts to reverse what she's started and finds herself drawn ineluctably toward the evil she's trying to control. While the authentic arcana of witchcraft provides background, the plot is derivative, with hints of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Yet the college setting adds an interesting dimension, and the characters are nicely delineated. Although this unusual mix of horror story, thriller and college romance is likely to draw protests from serious followers of ancient wicca rites, readers who savor supernatural menace will enjoy its edge. (Feb.) FYI: J.G. Passarella is the pseudonym for two Hollywood writers.
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4391-4138-0
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-4516-1337-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 438 pages - 978-0-671-02481-9
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