Cover image for The walker in shadows
The walker in shadows
Michaels, Barbara, 1927-2013.
Physical Description:
448 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"Large print."
Format :

On Order



The house next door to Pat Robbins-eerily identical to the home Pat shares with her college-aged son, Mark-has been empty for years, the darkness within seeming to warn all to stay away. Now new tenants are moving in: affable Josef Friedrichs and his lovely daughter, Kathy, who has stolen Mark's heart on first glance. But something is not right-something old and secret lurking in the shadows that fresh paint and new furnishings cannot mask or exorcise. There is evil alive in the heart of the house next door-and it means to feed on the fears of two families . . . and drag Kathy Friedrichs with it into peril.

Author Notes

Barbara Mertz was born on September 29, 1927 in Astoria, Illinois. She received a bachelor's degree in 1947, a master's degree in 1950 and doctorate in Egyptology in 1952 from the University of Chicago. She wrote a few books using her real name including Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs (1964), Red Land, Black Land (1966), and Two Thousand Years in Rome (1968). She also wrote under the pen names Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters.

She made her fiction debut, The Master of Blacktower, under the name Barbara Michaels in 1966. She wrote over two dozen novels using this pen name including Sons of the Wolf, Someone in the House, Vanish with the Rose, Dancing Floor, and Other Worlds.

Her debut novel under the pen name Elizabeth Peters was The Jackal's Head in 1968. She also wrote the Amelia Peabody series and Vicky Bliss Mystery series using this name. She died on August 8, 2013 at the age of 85.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This 1992 novel follows the classic suspense story line of strange things occurring when a new family moves into a long-empty house. Severn House titles can be purchased at a discount at 800-830-3044. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The Walker in Shadows Chapter One The house next door had been empty as long as Pat could remember. Old Hiram, the caretaker, did not really occupy it; he camped in it, buying his food at one or another of the quick-food outlets and sleeping--so rumor reported--on a folding cot in one of the vast, echoing bedrooms. No chest of drawers would have been necessary, since he appeared to own only two shirts--one checked, the other plain blue--and two pairs of pants. Presumably these were replaced periodically, since they never progressed beyond a certain stage of decrepitude. Hiram had been heard mumbling to himself as he walked the streets, on those occasions when he emerged to dine on Big Macs and French fries. The soles of his shoes, inadequately secured by rubber bands, slapped the sidewalk as he proceeded. Sometimes he burst into a loud shrill laugh, as if he had told himself a particularly witty joke. The neighborhood children called him a witch, ignoring his sex, which was, admittedly, hard to determine at a casual glance, for his long gray hair straggled to his shoulders. It was Pat's son Mark, trained to verbal accuracy by his father, who pointed out that male witches were more properly known as warlocks. The other kids liked the sound of the word and adopted it; thereafter, when old Hiram appeared on the street he was followed by a crowd of imp-sized tormentors, chanting the noun and a variety of selected adjectives. These became richer and riper and more decidedly Anglo-Saxon as the children grew, and their mothers shook their heads and wondered where the little monsters picked up such language. Hiram's persecutors called him names, but they stayed at a safe distance, and after one or two unpleasant episodes they did not venture into the weedy, overgrown lawn of the house next door. They claimed Hiram had chased them with a nail-studded club, spitting blue fire. The adults dismissed the blue fire and were inclined to place the club in the same doubtful category. No child ever showed convincing wounds, so the other parents followed the example of Jerry Robbins, husband of Pat and father of Mark. His reaction to Mark's complaint was a stern lecture on the meaning of private property. The lecture was reinforced by the method immortalized by Dickens' Mr. Squeers--wall, noun; build, verb active. Mark built the wall between the two houses, assisted by his father. It took him three weeks of playtime, and got the point across. A high iron fence, complete with spikes, surrounded the rest of the forbidden property. Rankly overgrown trees and shrubs formed a further barrier; on summer nights the shrouding honeysuckle scented the entire neighborhood, and poison ivy added its charms to brambly roses and other foliage. Normally these barriers would only have been a challenge to the children. It was not the wall, or the fence, or the poison ivy that kept them out; it was old Hiram, and the effect Jerry's lecture had had, not only on his own son, but on the other children. Jerry had been dead now for over a year. Pat's mind touched this thought and twisted away. She had survived that year only by refusing to let the knowledge surface any oftener than she could help; by concentrating compulsively on the tasks of each day; and by seeking chores that kept her mind fully occupied and her body exhausted enough to sleep. It was spring again, and that made it worse. Spring is always cruel, with its false promise of resurrection, and Jerry had enjoyed the season so much--the return of the migratory birds, the emerging green spears of bulbs he had planted the previous fall, the first freezing afternoon on a soggy golf course. Yet as Pat sat by her window looking down on the hard-knotted potential flowers of the lilac bushes by the front door, she was thinking of something other than the treachery of spring. The house next door had been sold. A month earlier old Hiram had vanished into that mysterious limbo from which he had come, and a series of workmen had descended on the old house, supervised by a bustling lady from the local realtor's office. This morning the moving vans had lumbered up the street and stopped before the house, and Pat had decided that her cold was so bad she couldn't possibly go to work. She blew her nose and dropped the tissue into a wastebasket conveniently at hand by her perch on the deep, padded window seat. Nurses were supposed to be immune to any disease short of bubonic plague; but she was entitled to some sick leave, the office was well staffed that week--and she was curious. She was cultivating that curiosity the way an injured person might encourage the first signs of movement in a paralyzed limb. It was a dreary day, with low gray clouds and occasional drizzles of rain. A stiff breeze rattled the branches of the trees. If these had been fully leafed her view would have been cut off; even now, the only way she could see what was going on was from the second floor of the house. Her room was on the corner; she could see not only the street but, over the fence, into the neighboring yard. The first van had opened its rear doors and men were lifting out furniture swathed in protective cloths. Pat wriggled into a more comfortable position, her feet up on the seat, her back supported by cushions. Mark had gone off to his morning classes at the junior college after fussing over her till she was ready to shriek. He prided himself on his culinary skills; the breakfast he had brought her included enough food for one of the husky moving men next door--bacon and eggs, English muffins, fried potatoes, grapefruit, and a big glass of orange juice. He made sure she ate all of it, standing over her with . . . The Walker in Shadows . Copyright © by Barbara Michaels. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Walker in Shadows by Barbara Michaels All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.