cover image Burn the Negative

Burn the Negative

Josh Winning. Putnam, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-54466-2

Like the classic horror cinema it gleefully riffs on, Winning’s latest (after The Shadow Glass) crackles with both dread and dazzle. In 1993, seven-year-old Polly Tremaine starred in the cult horror classic The Guesthouse, a movie whose production was rumored to be cursed: eight of its cast and crew members died during and after filming, all in eerily similar ways to the deaths played out on screen. Thirty years later, Polly, who has reinvented herself as Laura Warren, heads to the set of It Feeds, a miniseries reboot of The Guesthouse that she’s covering as a reporter for Zeppelin magazine. There, she begins to have upsetting visions of the film’s famous monster, the Needle Man—and people start dying around her once more. Is a supernatural menace haunting Laura? Or is she being mercilessly pranked by her sister, Amy, the set psychic Beverly, or someone else in her inner circle? Winning keeps readers guessing right alongside Laura while throwing out crafty winks and nods to well-known horror films and their makers, and driving his tale to a cinematically spectacular finale with several surprising plot twists. Horror fans should grab the popcorn for this bloody and entertaining romp. Agent: Kristina Perez, Zeno Agency. (July)