cover image Crazy


William Peter Blatty, Forge, $22.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2649-2

Joey El Bueno recalls his childhood in WWII-era New York in this nostalgic, uncharacteristically sentimental novel from horror master Blatty (The Exorcist). In 1941, seventh-grader Joey meets the "nuttier than a truckload of filberts" Jane Bent and admits to being " perverse enough to find a little lunacy incredibly attractive." After an afternoon at the movies, Jane disappears, and Joey has trouble proving to anyone else that she ever existed. When Joey next encounters Jane, she's taken the form of a little girl who knows all about him, and Joey, understandably, questions his sanity. The mystery of Jane is eventually and unsatisfyingly explained, but it's Joey's narrative voice, not the plot, that sustains this slight, amiable book, as it dips between the good ol' days and an elderly Joey, a retired screenwriter, dishing about the movie biz—something Hollywood veteran Blatty sketches with aplomb. Cheerful though unsubstantial, this novel will please nostalgia seekers but will disappoint readers who associate Blatty with spewed pea soup. (Nov.)