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Guardian
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About the Author

John Saul's first novel, Suffer the Children, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, and The Presence. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles, initially published in six installments but now available in one complete volume. Saul divides his time between Seattle and Hawaii.

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Despite the high death toll generated by some pretty nasty weapons (claws, fangs, shotgun, fire poker, pitchfork), there's not much terror here because banal details and very ordinary people overwhelm the fear factor. MaryAnne Carpenter, trying to cope with the return of the loutish husband who earlier deserted the family, heads off to Idaho with her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son in order to comfort her recently orphaned godson. Joey Wilkenson's parents have died in mysterious accidents and his mother, MaryAnne's best friend, had named her Joey's guardian. Joey seems an average 13-year-old, if given to understandable bouts of moody withdrawal. But the apparently peaceful mountain valley becomes menacing when a camper is brutally killed, perhaps by an animal, and MaryAnne feels increasingly isolated as winter approaches. Rumors of a wild mountain man or sasquatch circulate, and Joey starts to exhibit strange behavior. Further horrifying events occur, but their final explanation is too pat. A sequel is threatened, but hopefully Saul ( Darkness ) who has done better, will reconsider. (Aug.)

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