cover image The Chosen Child

The Chosen Child

Graham Masterton / Author Tor Books $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-3

Masterton (Prey; The Manitou) serves up a lethal combination of skillfully written detective story and intense horror, as the citizens of contemporary Warsaw begin finding headless bodies all over town. Is the perpetrator a deranged serial killer or a legendary monster living in the city's sewers? Komisarz Stefan Rej is stumped. When the seventh victim, a radio reporter critical of the Senate Hotels chain, is found in the sewer under the construction site of the chain's newest project, Rej thinks he finally has a motive for the gory events. He meets his testy match in a vice-president of the Senate chain, Sarah Leonard, an American of Polish descent who has a rapport with the Polish workers. They say that the reporter was killed by a demon that lives in the sewers--a Warsaw legend since the 17th century--and they refuse to work until it is eradicated. Frantic when German replacement workers are butchered, Sarah asks her Chicago cop dad for help. He sends retired police inspector Clayton Marsh, who proposes a s ance with a Warsaw medium and hears frightening revelations. Sarah's life is further complicated by an apparent connection between her boss (and ex-lover) and the Polish mafia. Using flashbacks, Masterton weaves the horrors of Nazi occupation (real-life SS General Erich von Bach Zelewski has a surprising role) and use of the sewers by the Home Army in the Warsaw Uprising into a highly atmospheric tale. Fans of horror, mystery buffs and aficionados of WWII stories will all enjoy this dandy thriller, whose clever protagonists find enlightenment and a little romance through their pursuit of the monster. (Dec.)