cover image The Hunter

The Hunter

L. J. Smith. Simon Pulse, $3.99 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87451-3

The first installment of the Forbidden Game horror trilogy pits a clique of California teenagers against the villainous Julian, an ancient, ruthless spirit disguised as a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Searching for sophisticated party entertainment, Jenny buys a strangely compelling game from Julian, salesman at a spooky new store. Soon after they begin playing, Jenny and her guests are transported to Julian's enchanted mansion, where each must face his or her worst nightmare. Julian's malicious magic is motivated by his longstanding crush on Jenny. Torn between her beloved mortal boyfriend and her fiendishly attractive suitor, Jenny and her vacillations kindle a sort of teasing tension. Hints of dangerous and forbidden romance abound, providing plenty of shivers for those who can swallow the fairly hokey premise. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)