cover image The Winslow Sisters

The Winslow Sisters

Michael Aronovitz. Cemetery Dance, $19.99 trade paper (332p) ISBN 978-1-58767-948-3

Aronovitz (Phantom Effect) cranks the horrors up to 11 in a novel whose macabre machinations are so outrageously over the top that they burlesque the splatter and fright films referenced in each of his book’s 34 chapter titles—as well as the genre in general. The eponymous sisters—Sage (17), Jody (14), and Esther (7)—are the three children of Philadelphia English professor Brad Winslow. Targeted by Michael Leonard Robinson—a serial killer known for his elaborately staged impalement murders and who supposedly perished in an explosion years earlier—Brad is compelled to play Robinson’s ghoulish games to save his daughters’ lives. The Winslow sisters, meanwhile, bond together to put an end to Robinson’s evil manipulations. Aronovitz makes each of the girls a key player in the plot to run Robinson to ground, but their exploits are upstaged by contrived explanations for the killer’s near-omnipotent powers and graphic incidents of eyeball eating, suicide, and bodily dismemberment that would give the Saw films a run for their money. Though the author’s tongue seems lodged firmly in cheek, this is only for horror fans with the strongest stomachs. (Jan.)