cover image The Horses of the Night

The Horses of the Night

Michael Cadnum, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-88184-930-1

The author of Ghostwright and Saint Peter's Wolf here offers an intriguing, if lightweight modern version of the Faust legend. Architect and designer Stratton Fields, scion of a prominent old San Francisco family, worries about his stalled career and rapidly dwindling wealth. He is about to lose a prestigious commission that could revive his flagging fortunes when he has a strange encounter one night with a mysterious woman; shortly thereafter, his chief competitor for the job inexplicably commits suicide. Fields's career takes off, but escalating violence threatens those closest to him, and he must come to grips with the frightening possibility that he has sold his soul to unseen, uncontrollable powers. Stock characters--the well-dressed, ruthless corporate head, the philanthropic girlfriend, the sympathetic psychiatrist who knows all about the occult--and a melodramatic plot jammed with lurid family secrets give this suspense novel the feel of a TV movie. Cadnum's fine eye for detail and his basically entertaining story, however, help to overcome the novel's overfamiliar scenario. (July)