The Twilight Pariah

Jeffrey Ford. Tor, $14.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9734-8
College students on summer vacation become amateur archeologists and unearth a legendary ghost in Ford’s humorous suspense yarn set in present-day upstate New York. Slacker English major Henry narrates the adventures of his hometown friends, amiable football hulk Russell and single-minded archeology major Maggie. By day they work mind-numbing jobs, but by night they’re joined by Russell’s boyfriend Luther to provide muscle for Maggie as she excavates around the derelict mansion on the edge of town. She’s convinced there must be something unique in the ancient outhouse. Their discoveries lead them to the town’s historical library, legends of a Devil Baby, a smoke monster, and a 127-year-old woman. After loved ones are attacked, the crew enlists the help of crusty Professor Medley to vanquish the ghost. Ford (A Natural History of Hell) meticulously builds the unnerving mystery in this brief, succinct story, bringing it to a cleanly executed but rushed ending. Endearing characters, elegant descriptions, and imaginative monsters make this a breezy beach read for horror fans. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
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