cover image Breeder


Douglas Clegg. Pocket Books, $4.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-67277-5

From its beginning with a gruesome backstreet abortion, the tension seldom flags as this tale builds to a grisly, suspense-filled climax. Hugh and Rachel Adair's new townhouse is a 19th-century building with eccentric architecture and an equally eccentric tenant, Penelope Deerfield, a retired nanny who ``looks like Mary Poppins gone to seed.'' More forbidding is the mad bag lady who takes an unsettling interest in the young couple, warning them to flee the ``screamin' house.'' Reading about the area's background, Hugh and Rachel discover that their home's dark history includes murder and possibly even devil worship. Meanwhile, Rachel begins to come under the sinister influence of whatever is haunting the house: she hears a baby crying where there is none and encounters a vision of a hideous, unearthly man. Eventually both Rachel and Hugh learn of the horror embedded in the house. As in Goat Dance , his first book, Clegg pulls out the stops of terror: cannibalism, the devil, good magic turned to evil, grave-robbing and the undead all make this a chilling story. (July)