cover image LABYRINTH


John Herman, . . Philomel, $17.99 (188pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23571-9

Juxtaposing 14-year-old Gregory's real-life traumas against the surreal landscape of his imagination, Herman (Deep Waters) creates a layered suspense story that leads readers through the labyrinth of a troubled teen's mind. As Gregory grapples with his father's recent suicide, he is haunted by nightmares "consistent and continuing, like real life only weirder." In his dreams, he is "Gregor," a boy from some other world, one of the Golden Ten chosen to confront the mythological Minotaur. During his waking hours, Gregory, upset that his mother has a new boyfriend, turns to a life of crime, skipping school and breaking into houses. Along with two cohorts, rebellious Jed and exotically beautiful Virginia, the daughter of his father's boss (and the man Gregory blames for his father's suicide), he hatches a plan to steal some money and run away from home. As the novel progresses, Gregory's waking actions become more and more integrated with imaginary Gregor's fateful journey, until the two essentially merge. Although readers will be acutely aware of the author's presence as he manipulates images and drops theories about parallel universes, déjà vu, Jungian psychology and narcolepsy, this dark, spiraling tale is sure to win fans among those fascinated with psychological suspense stories and unsolved mysteries of the mind. Ages 12-up. (June)