by Christopher Rice
I have to admit that I requested this book for review because the author is Anne Rice's son and I was curious. I've read and enjoyed several Anne Rice books and wondered if writing skill is hereditary. It's impossible for those of us familiar with her work to read his without making some comparisons.
My first impression on starting to read was that it didn't compare favorably. Part of the reason for this is that the story is written in present tense, which I dislike intensely. There is good reason why nearly all the best books of the past have been written in past tense. It just works better for storytelling.
It starts out like a bad Romance novel with a woman catching her husband having another woman perched on the bathroom sink, then leads to a horrific situation in the gazebo where a little spilled blood seems to awaken a window to the past and a monstrous force hidden in the soil of the plantation.
As Horror stories go, the plot was actually interesting. I didn't see how the bugs fit in until the very end, but there were some interesting ideas, even if some of them beggared believability. The best character was Nova, the daughter of a black caretaker who still treated his employers as if they were in the old south in the time of slavery. Until the last few chapters, she seemed to be an intelligent and sensible character.
The one problem with the story is that it lacked depth. This may be partly due to present tense writing, but things didn't flow as smoothly as they could have. I was actually surprised to read that Rice had already written four other books (and won awards, nothing to do with his literary family I'm sure) because this read much like a first novel. It was okay, but just okay.