cover image Relics


Tim Lebbon. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-1-78565-030-7

Fans of Lebbon (The Silence) will know to expect supernatural horror, but here it’s delivered only to those willing to wait. Little distinguishes the opening from a mid-1970s Updike novel. Angela and Vince are an ordinary couple in suburban London. She’s from Boston (or so the narrative claims, unconvincingly) and working on a doctorate in criminology; he’s in real estate. Angela’s none too clear on Vince’s exact job, and she gets a lot less certain when Vince goes AWOL and his purported bosses shrug. Putting her true-crime reading to use, she tracks him through the city’s shadows while a battered Vince grapples with mysterious captors. It’s difficult to say which audience this book is intended for. Horror aficionados must be patient with the lengthy setup before the threats take form, and fans of character-driven storytelling are confronted with clichés: a woman who says no to sex even when she’s interested, just because; the man who says he loves her but jumps in bed with a beautiful stranger, just because. Lebbon’s visual imagination is good, and his experience with movie novelizations is amply evident, but his subject matter could stand to be refreshed. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Mar.)