Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyDowling (Amberjack) falters in this creepy novel, which loses its frisson of horror in an excess of information. Writer David Leeton is house-sitting in remote southeastern Australia, recuperating from a broken relationship and trying to cure his pathological fear of clowns. Shortly after his arrival in Starbreak Fell, he begins encountering mysterious objects that trigger his clown fear. Some neighbors from Sardinia offer to help him discover the truth behind the strange happenings, but everything seems to lead back to ancient rites practiced on their ancestral home. While Dowling manages to justify David's analytical approach to his fears, the analysis--perhaps stemming from the book's origins in Dowling's doctoral thesis--distances the reader from the character and undermines the emotional resonance necessary to be horrified by the climax. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library JournalAttempting to overcome his lifelong fear of clowns and anything reminiscent of them, 41-year-old writer and lyricist David Leeton takes a house-sitting job in a rural part of New South Wales, Australia. Regaled by his neighbors, a varied, stimulating group of individuals that include a family of Sardinian émigrés called the Risis and the bewitching Gemma Ewins, David hopes to come to terms with his dread and learn to live a normal life—until strange happenings reawaken his trepidations and throw him into a madhouse of terror. Dowling's second installment in this series (after Basic Black) explores a popular phobia and dissects its underpinnings in mythology and religion. VERDICT The author of Wormwood and Blackwater Days delivers another tale of psychological terror that should appeal to his fans as well as to general audiences of horror literature.
- PS Publishing
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