cover image Doppelganger


David Stahler, Jr.. Eos, $16.99 (258pp) ISBN 978-0-06-087232-8

The nameless narrator of Stahler's (Truesight) horror story/morality fable opens by announcing his most recent murder-and then things start to get really dark. He is a doppelganger, a shape-shifting breed: ""We prey on your race-stalking you, watching your moves, the places you go, learning the patterns of your life. Then, when we think we've got it down, we find a nice quiet little corner to strangle you in and take over."" Cursed with a conscience (he actually stops to question whether or not it is moral to kill), he is abandoned by his mother at age 16. Soon thereafter, he kills a teen named Chris Parker and inhabits his body; the narrative then becomes an intruder's-eye view of suburban life, with its veneer of happiness and the sadness hiding beneath. Chris's father is an abusive alcoholic. In a particularly powerful scene, Chris protects his younger sister from their father's rage, and nearly kills him in the process; a side plot involving the narrator's first girlfriend is less effective. The moral of the story is old and oft-used, telegraphed from page one (""We have met the monster and he is us""). And while the ending is predictable, it is satisfying in its own way and will likely start many worthwhile conversations on morality and ""nature vs. nurture."" Ages 12-up.