School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 7-12-- This contemporary horror novel does not rival other current favorites, but the quality of the writing and the intriguing focus on the power of the imagination will find favor with many discerning readers. Joanne, the bewildered protagonist, must contend not only with her ex-boyfriend Billy, but also with monstrous creatures terrorizing her small town. By coincidence (she thinks), the beasts resemble those in stories by reclusive author Martin Wisemann. This coincidence seems more eerie, and less likely, when Joanne meets the man in a local book shop. Shortly thereafter, Billy is killed under mysterious circumstances. The plot moves along fairly quickly, with Joanne's encounters with various monsters alternating with her efforts to contact the writer. At long last, she meets him again and he reveals that between them they have brought the monsters to life: he by creating them and she by believing in them. Wisemann then proposes a novel solution: he will write a ``final chapter'' that Joanne will act out and together they will destroy the menace. Westwood's skill is such that readers will find this a plausible solution. They will also, along with the heroine, be surprised at the final outcome. Minor characters, like Joanne's siblings and her best friend, are clearly, if sketchily, drawn, but the focus is definitely upon the action and the mysterious creatures. Genre fans will enjoy the creepy story, while those looking for a thoughtful exploration of the nature of horror will also be satisfied. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Janice Del NegroWestwood's story has the premise and pace of "Nightmare on Elm Street", but it's a "Nightmare on Elm Street" gone literary. Joanne is a great fan of horror writer Martin Wisemann, so when she starts seeing the nightmare creatures from his books on the street, she recognizes them. Her ex-boyfriend, Billy, is killed by one, and the lives of her younger brother and sister are endangered. When Joanne seeks out Wisemann, he reveals that it is his writing combined with her imagination that is creating the monsters. He suggests a solution: he will write her into a story and have her destroy the monsters he has created. Desperate, Joanne agrees, only to find that Wisemann has "written" her to safety and sacrificed himself. The style is appropriately sensational, as is the content, and the "demon lover" in the story, like the book's conclusion, is a disappointment if you like neat, logical endings. Even so, this is a title that will sell itself, especially to horror fans.
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