Barclay, 2001, 15.95, 269 pp.
Ten years ago Erin rescued Mickey a dwarf from four punks. They moved in together. Five years later, Mickey met a weeping dwarf Isolde and invited her to move in as their cook. A third dwarf Beau joined the family later on. Then there are the midget twins, Patrick and Sarah, Erin's older siblings to round out the family living in a former circus wagon turned into a cottage in Hester, New York. Erin is the income maker bringing in cash through phone sex with her clients.
Erin finds the circus canvasses that adorn the walls of the cottage quite magical especially when she dreams of escaping the bondage of her now bed ridden body. When she sleeps, Erin's spirit joins the canvas animals roaming Hester as predators in search of human prey. Erin has no problem with the hunt. When she was fifteen, she overpowered and drowned her parents with no remorse as her father sexually abused her. Now apparent innocents are dying leaving behind mutilated bodies. Witnesses insist nothing was there that could have caused the mangling of a person in front of them.
PHANTOM FEAST is a supernatural thriller that starts slowly allowing the audience to distinguish the varying individual personalities of the family members especially the individual psychological longings (though the twins are not quite as delineated). Once the background and individualism is established, the compelling plot turns into paranormal mode at very rapid speed especially when the spirits of the canvassed animals and Erin begin their nocturnal killing spree.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner