cover image THE DARKENING


Chandler McGrew, Author . Dell $6.50 (448p) ISBN 978-0-553-58603-9

McGrew's creative, addictive novel is one part Rapture drama, one part Lovecraftian horror story and one part blood-soaked chase. Two years after the death of his wife, karate instructor Dylan Barnes begins hearing voices in his house; shortly thereafter, two policemen arrive to tell him that his wife's coffin has been exhumed and stolen. Dylan senses there's something strange about the policemen, and his suspicion is confirmed when an enigmatic killer named Crank, who works for the ancient secret society Rex Deus, arrives to rescue him from the increasingly menacing officers. Meanwhile, two mysterious agents rescue private detective Lucy Devereau, whose lineage clearly contains some enormous secret. Before long, electricity fails, people begin disappearing and the protagonists find themselves in a George Romero-flavored nightmare with just enough gore to delight horror readers, and just enough quasi-religious apocalypse imagery to keep everyone else hooked. "Mysterious" is a good word to describe this book, which reveals its secrets slowly and in small increments. But McGrew (Night Terror ) keeps the pacing brisk and eschews overly florid prose, making this a thrilling one-sit read, right down to its explosive, delightfully hokey finale. Agent, Irene Kraas . (June 29)