cover image Garden of Evil

Garden of Evil

Graham Masterton. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8249-3

Frustrated professor Jim Rook finds his psychic gifts an ambiguous asset in his eighth horror-lite tale (after Demon’s Den). On the first day of class, Rook finds the corpses of a girl and eight Persian cats nailed to a classroom ceiling. As more deaths occur, sinister student Simon Silence, son of a donor to the college, woos Rook by showing interest in his ability to talk with supernatural entities. Masterton’s heavy-handed injection of signals about Simon’s preternatural nature erase any tension as Simon tempts classmates to pursue their own “personal paradise.” After much agonizing, Rook incautiously uses the Silences’ powers to resurrect his father, who drowned himself, and his murdered daughter. As the revived dead rampage through Los Angeles, Masterton hammers home the message that nobody achieves everything they want without cost, and Rook’s final weighing of sacrifice vs. salvation underscores the central issue yet again. Even adolescent readers will find the moralizing overly blatant and tiresome. (Apr.)