cover image The Bones Wizard

The Bones Wizard

Alan Ryan / Author, Alan Ryan / Author Broadway Books $15 (192

Ryan's latest collection contains 12 stories of fantasy and horror, but the fantasy is too often weighted down by a leaden style and a tame imagination, and the horror tales are too infrequently capable of raising more than a tremor of uneasiness. Some of the entries, like the title story, spring from the author's Irish roots, and these have a spontaneous, almost folkloric quality. Others, like ""Sheets'' and ``Hear the Whistle Blowing'' are entirely artifice, weak ideas mechanically fleshed out. ``The Lovely and Talented Maxine Kane'' is perhaps the best-written tale, but the protagonist's fate is arbitrary and unearned. This story and several others in the book, including ``Sand'' and ``Babies from Heaven,'' concern madness, but the treatments are superficial, and provide neither insights nor chills. (January 22)