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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The adjective on the cover of Scott Smith's wildly anticipated sophomore release (after 1993's A Simple Plan) says it all: "Unputdownable." The Ruins, an amalgam of psychological thriller and literary horror à la Stephen King, follows a group of four young American tourists vacationing in Cancún and chronicles the horrors they uncover when they help another tourist search for his wayward brother among isolated Mayan ruins.
Best friends and recent college graduates Amy and Stacy and their boyfriends, Jeff and Eric, are thoroughly enjoying their summer vacation in Mexico. In a few weeks the quartet will begin new chapters of their lives -- but until then, the group is partying with fellow travelers from all corners of the globe. One tourist, a German named Mathias, tells the four about his brother, who disappeared with a seductive female archaeologist working at a dig near Cobá, one of the oldest Mayan settlements on the Yucatán Peninsula. The four Americans agree to accompany Mathias in his search but the journey quickly turns into a waking nightmare…
Like works by H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and the aforementioned King, every page -- every sentence! -- of The Ruins is shadowed by a sublime sense of foreboding, an unsettling awareness that, at any moment, some completely unanticipated monstrosity is going to suddenly emerge and wreak bloody havoc on the characters. What were the lost archaeologists looking for? And what did they find? What ancient life form lurks in the labyrinths beneath the ruins? Discerning fans of literary horror will categorically venerate this disturbing tale of wanderlust gone wrong. Paul Goat Allen