Sunday, November 15, 2009

lost touch

Title: Lost Boy Lost Girl
Author: Peter Straub
Bookmark: some card advertising an offer from my bank

The novel is divided into five sections. I almost didn't make it through the first section, but the rest paid off. The first section is choppy and disoriented, and although I usually really like nonlinear storytelling (though I've only seen it once, I still think Go is brilliant), Straub hacked his way through that portion of the book. The rest of it, although still slightly nonlinear, worked much better.

Tim Underhill is a horror novelist (I sometimes feel sorry for writers who, having never experienced anything else, tend to make the main characters very like themselves. Even Stephen King, a long time favorite of mine, tends to write about an awful lot of writers, journalists, and English teachers. And drunks, but I think that's part of his coping mechanism for a past life full of addiction) whose siter-in-law dies. He returns to his hometown and his stuffed-shirt brother (himself an absentee father) for the funeral, but a couple days after he returns to New York, he learns that his nephew has gone missing. He returns to the small Illinois town of his youth to investigate and help his brother deal with his losses.

The rest of the book (the last four sections) details how Tim, with the help of an independently-wealthy friend who solves lots of mysteries by looking at public (and somewhat non-public) records on his computer and making connections nobody else has. He eventually finds that his sister-in-law was related to a notorious area serial killer, that his nephew had a strange fascination with the empty house across the alley, and that several teenage boys have recently disappeared from the area of a local park. Natrually, because it's a mystery story, all three threads eventually weave together. Naturally, because it's a Peter Straub story, there's also some spooky supernatural shit going down.

Overall, it was an entertaining read, but there are some things that I still don't really get.
Why would the ghost of a girl who was repeatedly raped and abused decide to make sweet supernatural love to a fifteen year old boy on the same wooden bed where she was raped? Even using the same leather straps on their wrists??
How would said ghost-girl have sex with a living person anyway? I can't get my head around this.

There's another really big question I have about the bodies of the victims, but it's not worth getting into. Suffice to say, suspension of disbelief is essential for reading this book, and leave your eye for detail at home.

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posted by reyn at 5:44 PM


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