cover image Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere

Christopher Pike. Pocket Books, $3.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74508-0

The heavy metal aesthetic teams up with wishy-washy New Age mysticism in this reworking of the film It's a Wonderful Life. When Teresa discovers that her boyfriend Bill has dumped her in favor of her best friend, she jumps into her car and takes off into the night. On the road, the girl picks up two strange hitchhikers: the sexy magician Freedom Jack and his dour, chain-smoking companion, Poppy Corn. En route to the Bardos Club, their ultimate destination, Jack and Poppy take turns telling the tale of two star-crossed lovers while Teresa chronicles her failed romance. After a stop-over with the psychic crone Jack calls his mother, Teresa begins to suspect that her unplanned trip has led her into realms not charted on any map. With its lugubrious writing (``His wife had recently left him for a filmmaker of animal documentaries'') and predictable storyline--not to mention some achingly bad song lyrics in its first section--this novel is not exactly vintage Pike. Still, the author's loyal fans may well appreciate this particular variety of watered-down spirituality. Also, the novel's life-affirming finale makes for a nice change in a genre that is often relentlessly gory. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)