(hb; 1994: fourth book in The Manitou series)
From the inside flap:
"For Harry Erskine, the scene is frighteningly familiar. A paralyzing coldness fills the air, though it is the height of summer. A terrible, inhuman shadow moves across a wall, though nothing in the room is moving. A woman dies, ripped to bloody shreds, though no one is touching her.
"The Manitou has returned.
"All white men shall perish!
"Harry Erskine, professional fortune teller, has faced the Manitou before. Twenty years ago Harry and the woman he loved, Karen Tandy, nearly destroyed the vengeful Indian spirit. Fifteen years ago Harry and Singing Rock, a powerful shaman, drove the Manitou back into the Land of the Dead. But now Singing Rock is dead and Harry is more aware than ever that he has no real spiritual powers -- he's a con artist, not a clairvoyant.
"Still, he's the only person who may be able to stop the Manitou's deadly plan to destroy first the white man's great cities and then the white man himself. Two decades in the Great Outside have greatly increased the dead wonder-worker's abilities -- he takes possession of Karen Tandy's soul with a mere flick of power. Worse, the Manitou has joined forces with the spirit of a voodoo prince whose hatred of whites is undimmed by a century of death.
"As the Manitou sucks skyscrapers into the Land of the Dead, Harry Erskine joins forces with an Indian used-car salesman and magic-maker, and an innocent little girl who holds the key to the Manitou's destruction..."
Misquamacus, the series-titular Manitou, has found yet another supernatural loophole through which to escape death, also called the Great Outside. This time he's tied himself to a powerful, long-dead voodoo priest (Jonas DuPaul, aka Dr. Hambone, or Sawtooth). Together, they're causing transcontinental chaos across America: cities and their denizens are being sucked into the ground, via canyon-sized holes that suddenly appear without warning.
Having the same mastermind-villain behind so many books -- three, thus far -- could easily cause any genre-familiar reader (in this case, horror) to roll his eyes at the thought of another Manitou novel: didn't they vanquish that f*cker in two other books? It's like he's Freddy Krueger, or Jason Voorhees!
Fortunately, as Masterton proved in The Manitou and Revenge of the Manitou, this is a character- and plot-consistent series that's evolving, along with its characters. Many of the key characters may be familiar, but their theurgic dramas will play out differently than they did in previous books, up to a point.
This is also the first Manitou novel that would make a great A-list movie. Given its increasing scope, these Manitou/Dr. Hambone-caused horrors (possession; people ripped apart; entire cities sucked into mysterious, storm-attended voids) are epic, compared to the localized terrors of the first two Manitou novels.
As in the first two Manitou novels, and The Djinn (a Harry Erskine-based side-novel), the lead characters are memorable and believable, with a touch of quirkiness thrown into their personalities. Dr. Ernest Snow, the anthropologist who fought Misquamacus alongside Erskine in The Manitou, is drawn back into the fight to prevent the flesh-rending fruition of "All Shadows' Day, the day that the Ghost Dance comes true."
Also drawn into the supernatural struggle: Papago Joe, a used car salesman and an expert in Indian magic -- a human stand-in for the now-dead Singing Rock, who also helps, from a distance. Other notable characters include: Milan Protic (aka William Hood), a nineteenth-century Serbian vampire hunter who worked with Dr. Hambone when they were both alive; and Martin Vaizey, a highly-developed "sensitive" [psychic] whose conservative manners mask surprising quirks.
Excellent entry in The Manitou series. Like the other Manitou books, Burial works as a stand-alone read.
Followed by Manitou Blood.