cover image White Knuckle

White Knuckle

Eric Red. Samhain, $14 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-61922-978-5

Producer and screenwriter Red (The Hitcher) touches on just about every serial killer trope in this clunky and predictable horror thriller. FBI special agent Sharon Ormsby is on an assignment investigating links among scores of unsolved homicides committed along interstate highways. She believes the young women, murdered over a 40-year period, were killed by a single man, a long-haul trucker known by the CB handle "White Knuckle." The Feds give the young agent two weeks to go undercover as an apprentice trucker to see whether she can lure the killer into the open. Sharon, who owes a great deal to Thomas Harris's Clarice Starling, is a smart, driven, but emotionally fragile woman haunted by childhood demons. She soon realizes that the tables have turned and that the sadistic killer is actually pursuing her. In the end, Sharon must face her worst nightmares alone. The over-the-top climax somewhat redeems Red's uneven pacing, but this derivative schlock-shocker could use an overhaul. (June)