House of Reckoning is John Saul's thirty-sixth novel. His first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include In the Dark of the Night, Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, Midnight Voices, The Manhattan Hunt Club, The Right Hand of Evil, Guardian, and Faces of Fear. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.
These two works continue Saul's penchant for the eerie and creepy. In Cry for the Strangers, a seemingly beautiful small coastal town turns into a death trap for strangers. Somehow the storms and sea share a connection with the deaths of new residents, but what exactly is that connection? Punish the Sinners explores the Catholic Church and intertwines the 1252 Inquisition in Italy with the hiring of a teacher of Latin and psychology at a Catholic school in 1978. A spate of suicides among female students occurs shortly after the teacher's arrival, leaving the town frightened and watchful. At the same time, a group of priests participate in a secret medieval ritual. Both readers are well suited to their respective stories. Mel Foster (Cry) conveys the whiney and tattletale tones frequently heard from children while also displaying sufficient variation of voices to differentiate among the numerous adult characters. David Daoust's delivery in Punish is calm and quiet yet ably displays fear, bewilderment, confusion, and anger. In both books, the final thought expressed at the end of one side is repeated at the beginning of the next side, and background music adds to the atmosphere. Essential for those libraries with Saul fans; recommended for all public libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.