When a rare mental disorder begins to consume his small-town neighbors, a young psychiatrist digs up the past for clues to the epidemic’s bone-chilling source in this brilliant supernatural horror debut, written in the bestselling tradition of Peter Straub.
Convinced that evil spirits have overtaken his daughter, a desperate father introduces her to Nat Thayer, a young psychiatrist in their sleepy blue-blooded Massachusetts college town. Thayer quickly diagnoses the girl with Cotard Delusion, an obscure condition sometimes described as “walking corpse syndrome.” But Thayer soon realizes his patient—and many of the local families—are actually being targeted by a malignant force resurrected from the town's wicked history. Thayer must discover the source of the spreading plague…before there is no one left to save.
An ancient evil lurks at the dark heart of this creepy supernatural novel, the first under an unnamed bestseller's Wolff pseudonym. Northam, Mass., seems idyllic in every way, but when the body of a murdered college student is found, it kicks off a series of violent deaths and strange actions that are increasingly difficult to explain. Families of the deceased are appalled when their loved ones' bodies go missing from the morgue. Psychiatrist Nat Thayer is called on to treat a young woman, Becca Prescott, who seems to be suffering from a rare disorder, and he's drawn to her in more than a professional capacity. His friend John Bailey, a detective at the Northam PD, has his hands full investigating the deaths, and enlists Nat's help. Soon, Nat and John can't help but believe that something supernatural is going on, and they must get to the root of the problem before those they love become victims. The book's strength lies in the atmospheric, spooky backdrop to horrendous events that bring the past into the present, and the killings are gruesome enough to satisfy any horror fan. The chilling climax hints that all is still not well in the lovely town of Northam, setting the scene for possible sequels.