cover image Decimate


Christopher Rice. Thomas & Mercer, $24.95 (462p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3274-2

At the start of this gripping if uneven supernatural thriller from bestseller Rice (A Density of Souls), two children, 12-year-old Claire Huntley and her 10-year-old brother, Poe, are hiking in the wilds of Montana when they’re struck by a mysterious violent force that leaves them with little memory of what happened. Their father suspects they were the victims of an alien abduction. Fourteen years later, Claire, now a history teacher in the Pacific Northwest, is preparing to meet Poe, who’s been emotionally troubled since the incident, at the airport. Then she receives a psychic message from Poe shortly before his plane crashes. Meanwhile, Randy Drummond and a team of ex-military men are monitoring the Huntleys along with a strange phenomenon related to the afterlife. Claire and Randy—aided by the not-quite-dead souls of Poe and Randy’s lover—wind up going after a demented outcast who wants to take revenge on everyone who’s ever abused him. Sharp dialogue and vivid characters make up only in part for the clichéd revelation about what’s really going on and the cop-out conclusion. Rice has done better. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (May)