Charles Winecoff
May 01, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Uncanny

Current Status
In Season
Andrew Klavan
Fiction, Horror

We gave it a C+

Klavan, an Edgar award-winning author of contemporary crime thrillers, tries to defy literary typecasting with this creaky gothic ghost story about a horror-movie producer, Richard Storm, who puts his Hollywood career on hold to visit England in search of an authentic supernatural experience — or, as he puts it, ”one lousy uncanny thing.” In England he immediately falls for buxom aristocrat Barbara Steele, whose family history conveniently includes a haunted abbey, cursed art, and witchcraft. All of this is interspersed with a number of highfalutin belletristic allusions and some of the purplest prose since H.P. Lovecraft; at times the dialogue in The Uncanny becomes blood-curdlingly embarrassing. Perhaps Klavan should have titled his book The Corny.

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