An electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel from the master of modern horror.
On a Midwestern campus in the 1960s, a charismatic guru and his young acolytes perform a secret ritual in a local meadow. What happens is a mystery—all that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present. Forty years later, one man seeks to learn about that horrifying night, and to do so he’ll have to force those involved to examine the unspeakable events that have haunted them ever since.
In this tour de force from bestseller Straub (In the Night Room), four high school friends in 1966 Madison, Wis. Hootie Bly, Dilly Olson, Jason Boatman, and Lee Truax fall under the spell of charismatic "wandering guru" Spencer Mallon. During an occult ceremony in which Mallon attempts to break through to a higher reality, something goes horribly awry leaving one participant dead. Decades later, Lee's writer husband interviews the quartet to find out what happened. In Roshomon-like fashion, each relates a slightly different account of the trauma they experienced. Straub masterfully shows how the disappointments, downturns, and failed promise of the four friends' lives may have stemmed from this youthful experience, and suggests, by extension, that the malignant evil they helped unleash into the world has tainted all hope ever since. Brilliant in its orchestration and provocative in its speculations, this novel ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror.
I like Peter Straub and other works of his. This book was a little difficult to stay as excited about because it felt confusing. The first 3/4 of the book were wonderful and had me riding towards a ending I thought I would like. It ended up being the opposite and really felt sorta lost. Not sure if that was because of the occult material and subject matter or exactly what it was but the book felt scattered and unfinished in so many places including the ending. I finished the last page feeling confused, unfulfilled and like I was left hanging. Straub books usually have been fantastic, thrilling, terrifying reads that end with me smiling but not this one.
This book is full of nonsense. One of the stupidest books I’ve ever read. Not interested in anything else from this author. He’s no Stephen King!!