cover image Winter Tides

Winter Tides

James P. Blaylock. Ace Books, $21.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-441-00444-7

As in The Paper Grail (1992), Blaylock combines the supernatural with a deep understanding of contemporary California and human nature, producing a book with appeal for both fantasy fans and readers of realistic fiction. The Pacific Coast landscape haunts this tale, which is more literally haunted by the ghost of Elinor Morris, the adolescent girl whom Dave Quinn failed to save from drowning--though Dave did rescue her twin, Anne. Years later, Dave works for a company making theater props and sets, as does Anne. Though Anne helps Dave overcome his guilt over Elinor's death, the two must fight both Elinor's ghost and Edmund Dalton, the deranged son of the company's boss, who is cheating his own brother, Casey, and has a taste for arson and murder. This story of good and evil siblings examines how we all learn to live with who we are, and does so through supple writing and a tense and carefully executed plot. (Aug.)