A famous, best selling author receives a note informing him that a body has been buried in his backyard along with evidence that incriminates him. He's highly educated and well-respected and knows for a fact that he has committed no crime. So he goes back in the house, and phones the police, right? No. He digs up the body and calls a number that he finds in one the corpse's pockets. The killer threatens him on the phone.
So he hangs up and calls the police, right? No. He goes to a motel in the middle of nowhere and gets himself kidnapped by a sadistic serial killer who keeps him prisoner and forces him to first watch, then participate in brutal acts. Until one day when he manages to get away from the cabin where he's being held and comes across a friendly rancher. At this point he tells the rancher what's been happening and gets out of there, right?
No, he doesn't do that either.If these events were ever to occur in the real world, the story would end around page ten, when the protagonist would call the cops, or perhaps a dozen or so pages later, when the protagonist would call the cops. Throughout the book Crouch doesn't ask the reader to merely suspend belief, but to make it float through the air and jump through unlikely hoops. For his efforts the reader is rewarded with unrelentingly cruel and pointless novel.
The only message seems to be that whatever you do, it's never a good idea to have an evil twin. Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away. There's no suspense here, you always know that the bad guy is over there in the shadows even though our protagonist will spend another page or so figuring it out.
This report prepared by H. Celestino
Dunne, Jan 2004, 23.95, 272 pp.
The letter informs popular horror-suspense author Andy Thomas that the butchered corpse of missing schoolteacher Rita Jones is buried on his lake front property with all evidence proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Andy is the culprit. The correspondence contains a threat to abide by its instructions or the Charlotte police will be informed of the homicide. Andy assumes that the note is a prank from a crazy fan especially with how melodramatic it sounds, but still, he checks. To his horror he finds Rita's body and that he is set up to take the fall.
Andy has not seen Orson in over a decade. When they were roommates at Appalachian State University, Orson one day disappeared. In the ensuing years while Andy wrote novels that have been turned into movies, Orson randomly killed twelve people, cut out their hearts, and sent the collection of hearts to the White House once he achieved his objective. Now Orson challenges Andy to play a game of cat and mouse with the stakes being the elimination of a twin.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner