cover image The Prodigy

The Prodigy

Noel Hynd. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $23 (329pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-240-4

A musician's quest for superstardom puts him in direct confrontation with the ghost of his onetime mentor in this stilted supernatural thriller from Hynd (Rage of Spirits). Despite the disdain of the critical press, arena-packing concert pianist Rolf Geiger makes music for the masses by mixing rock tunes with the classics, ""Beach Boys with Beethoven."" The day after the funeral of Rolf's estranged, malevolent teacher, the renowned Isador Rabinowitz, Rolf and his agent decide the time is ripe for a serious world tour--one that will show the world, including international music critics, that Rolf is (in his own words) the ""greatest musician who ever lived."" But Rabinowitz refuses to let his prodigy claim that title. He begins haunting the pianist, giving him nightmares, making him act against his will, even possessing his body when Rolf isn't playing up to par. Hynd's ponderous prose (""That evening was a fertile one for suspicion, also"") does little to heighten the tension of this colorless ghost story, and the name-dropping Upper East Side atmospherics can't make up for a lack of rounded characters or suspenseful plotting. (Jan.)