cover image Prey


Graham Masterton / Author Leisure Books $6.99 (352p) ISBN 978-

First published in the U.K. in 1992, this novel has taken seven years to make it across the Atlantic. One wonders whether it was worth the trip. David, a recently divorced father, and his young son, Danny, move into the deserted Fortyfoot House on the Isle of Wight to spiff it up so the owners can sell it. Originally a Victorian orphanage, the place is known to everyone on the island--except the newcomers--as downright weird. Ratlike scratching in the attic, ghostly appearances, a graveyard full of children who all died within a short period, a ruined chapel with a strange painting and a view back in time, a mysterious photograph that seems to change--Fortyfoot House makes the Overlook Hotel seem benign. David and Danny are conveniently joined by an unexpected houseguest, Liz, a buxom 19-year-old college student who quickly climbs into bed with the 30-something David. With the cast assembled, their living situation becomes threatened when the local rat catcher is gruesomely killed in the attic. Like any responsible father who is in love with a nymphet, David decides it's time to leave. But the rat catcher's son and widow have bashed his car into junk as revenge, so the trio must stay in Fortyfoot House another night. Parallel time dimensions, Lovecraftian mythos, a monstrous rat, slime, pollution, child sacrifice and the fate of the entire human race are all added to the mix. Masterton's vivid writing and over-the-top plot make the novel perversely enjoyable in the same way a B-movie can be so bad that it's good. (Dec.)