cover image Forest Ghost

Forest Ghost

Graham Masterton. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8344-5

Widower Jack Wallace is prompted by his autistic son’s dire visions to investigate a mass suicide at a Boy Scout camp in Michigan. A mysterious woman subsequently leads Jack to explore a connection between the Michigan horror and the disappearance of his great-grandfather in Poland during WWII. A running debate about free will vs. fate punctuates Masterton’s clumsy attempts to induce horror through redundant outbreaks of slaughter and repetitive sightings of elusive white shapes in the woods. Discourse on the differences between Slovak and Polish cookery provide vivid comic relief amid indistinguishable instances of descent into panic and declamatory warnings. A talky resolution fizzles into incoherence as lawmen confront malign entities and Jack’s son implausibly explains the origins and motivations of the forest spirits. Masterton never manages to create a viable story from this assortment of clashing clichéd elements. (Apr.)