cover image Pictures in the Dark

Pictures in the Dark

Gillian Cross. Holiday House, $16.95 (197pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1267-9

From the author of Wolf and Chartbreaker comes a spellbinding novel of emotional suspense, spiked with a highly British sort of magical realism. A chain of coincidences leads happy-go-lucky aspiring photographer Charlie Willcox into an edgy friendship with fellow students Jennifer Luttrell and her peculiar younger brother Peter, whose eccentricities have earned him the enmity of his schoolmates. Charlie soon realizes that the Luttrell children are each in their own way victims of their father's near-maniacal obsession with control. While Jennifer seeks to stave off their father's rages by solving problems before they occur, Peter--awkward and accident-prone--has developed an eerier defense: he transforms himself into a creature that embodies all the qualities his family fears. When matters at home and at school come to an ugly pass for Peter, Charlie is forced to step in. Adding still more depth to an already persuasive tale, Charlie's insight into the Luttrell family expands in tandem with his perception of himself as an artist and an individual. With its intricate construction and its poignantly recognizable characters, this thought-provoking story will linger long in the reader's mind. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)