Prominent TV anchorman John Lyon breaks down on camera after discussing the escalating rate of violence against children. Later, an African American woman exhorts Lyon to seek out Mason Quindell, a West Virginia doctor and ``monster''; then the woman throws herself in front of an oncoming taxi. So begins a convoluted tale of malevolence by the author of Lie to Me --a story that frequently threatens to bog down in its own excesses. Traveling to West Virginia, Lyon encounters the dead woman's granddaughter, who aids him in uncovering the sinister goings-on chez Quindell. Encountering voodoo, barbaric guard dogs and a dwarf with a severely limited vocabulary, readers may feel that Martin has tossed a few too many bizarre ingredients into his grisly goulash. Moreover, Lyon's sexual escapades seem gratuitous, especially in their violence, and the author's attempts at humanizing his protagonist merely decelerate the plot. And though Quindell fascinates as he repels, he bears a striking resemblance to Thomas Harris's archfiend, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Aficionados of this genre, however, may forgive all upon reaching the finale--a Grand Guignol affair which introduces Mr. Gigli, a wiry, particularly sinister torturer extraordinaire. 50,000 first printing; BOMC featured alternate. (July)
Following in the bloody footsteps of his last thriller, Lie to Me ( LJ 6/1/90), Martin has again created a grisly work that is definitely not for the faint of heart. Network newscaster John Lyon sets out to expose the criminal doings of West Virginia doctor Mason Quinndell, who has been accused of murdering 18 babies. During his quest, Lyon encounters voodoo, a hermit dwarf with man-eating dogs, a comatose woman in a coffin, and the sadistic doctor, who has recently been blinded. With the help of an ex-prostitute and a grossly obese, corrupt deputy, the sightless doctor (who gets his jollies from slowly dismembering vagrants with a spoon--yes, a spoon--and other torture devices) tries to stop Lyon's investigation. Luridly fascinating and bargain-priced, this will provide a cheap thrill for Martin's fans. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/92.-- Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, Ind.