cover image The Damned

The Damned

Andrew Pyper. Simon & Schuster, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5511-3

Pyper (The Demonologist) makes a familiar plotline fresh in this literate supernatural thriller. In 1989, at the age of 16, Danny Orchard’s twin sister, Ash, dies in a fire in an abandoned Detroit house. Danny himself almost dies that night as well, but his survival, coupled with his somehow coming into possession of a watch that was buried with his late mother, leads some locals to believe that he passed beyond the veil and returned. But for Ash, a sadist in life, death is no obstacle for her to continue tormenting her sibling. As Danny grows into adulthood, she haunts him. When he finds happiness with a woman (whom he met speaking about his near-death experiences), Ash also targets her, leading Danny to seek the truth of Ash’s death in the hope of putting her ghost to rest once and for all. As in the best horror, Pyper’s keen eye for the quotidian makes the fantastic feel plausible. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Feb.)