The Stone Circle

Gary Goshgarian, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (296p) ISBN 978-1-55611-533-2
The archeologist hero of this supernatural thriller is adept at unearthing historical mysteries, but his capabilities are not enough to excavate the plot from the cliches that Goshgarian (Rough Beast) has heaped upon it. Peter Van Zandt is trying to ease the pain of his wife Linda's tragic death when he accepts an assignment to excavate on Kingdom Head, an island in Boston Harbor being developed as a resort. He is temporarily distracted from his grief by the discovery of a Stonehenge-like site that suggests a pre-Columbian colony in America, but disembodied voices and dream messages convince Peter that Linda has led him here to effect her resurrection. In the heat of professional and personal obsession, Peter is unaware that he is being manipulated by the spirit of Brigid Mocnessa, a descendant of the sixth-century Druid clan that settled the island, and that his growing hostility toward his six-year-old son, Andy, is pushing him to fulfill Brigid's scheme for a blood sacrifice that will revive the island's pagan heritage. Goshgarian builds suspense credibly, with complications that include Peter's race against a clock set by greedy land developers. But he undermines his efforts with hoary plot contrivances, including coincidental discoveries and a cast of secondary characters who exist solely as foils for Peter's behavior. There is no satisfactory explanation of why Brigid, whose residue has imbued the island for more than three centuries, chooses now to exercise her powers, or why Peter, a hardcore materialist, should suddenly acquiesce in the mystical. Although Goshgarian layers his narrative with rich strata, its potential remains buried. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!