Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beyond the Shroud, by Rick Hautala

(hb; 1995)

From the back cover:

"David Robinson's life has taken several turns for the worse: first his daughter dies, then his marriage crumbles and his career as a mystery writer falls apart. But after he is killed in a hit-and-run accident, David quickly learns that he will face the most harrowing challenges as a wraith in the Shadowlands.

"Unable to contact or influence the world of the living, David's agony is made worse when he learns that his ex-wife relationship with a dangerous man named Tony Ranieri has put her life at risk. Tony possesses - and is possessed by - a relic filled with such awesome powers of destruction that dark forces within the Shadowlands will stop at nothing to obtain it. They'll even spur Tony to murder and manipulate the soul of David's daughter to forge his cooperation.

"But Tony is already dead, and he knows that power is a blade that cuts two ways."


With its palpable mood of cycling grief, vivid description and relatable characters, the genre-melding Shroud is a hard-to-set-down novel that deftly avoids horror clichés, while updating them and infusing them with elements of urban fantasy.

The finish of this exceptional, emotionally effective novel indicates that two other Wraith books should follow. I hope that Hautala gets them published sooner, not later.

Worth owning, this.

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