Cover image for Nightlight
Title:
Nightlight
Author:
Cadnum, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1990.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780312038977
Format :
Book

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

San Francisco food critic Paul Wright is tired of mulling over the various merits of bearnaise sauces, so when his Aunt Mary begs him to go to the old Parker cabin and find her missing son, Len, he jumps at the chance and invites his lover, perpetual-student Lise, along for the trip. Though Paul remembers Cousin Len as being a little odd--what with photographing cemeteries and all--little does he know that Len's preoccupation with death, urged on by Aunt Mary's somewhat necrophilic father fixation, has set him up for a night of terror and a chance to prove himself as more than an arbiter of arugula. First-novelist Cadnum uses three carefully crafted points of view--Paul's, Aunt Mary's, and Cousin Len's--to great eerie and suspenseful effect; his tale combines the premises, conversational terseness, and wit of detective fiction with the underpinnings of horror novels, breaking only one rule: no one here has the saving grace of being brave and unfrightened, especially the reader. A fine first effort from an author to watch. --Eloise Kinney


Publisher's Weekly Review

Although billed as horror/science fiction, poet Cadnum's (Foreign Springs) first novel is neither, nor is it effective psychodrama. Programmed to expect that something unreal and horrible will happen, the reader never feels the frisson of fear essential to the genre. Part of a prominent San Francisco family ``that has always craved secrecy,'' Mary Lewis sends her nephew, Paul Wright, to check on her neurotic son, Len, who has hidden himself away in a remote cabin in the wilderness. Having found pictures Len has taken inside his grandfather's crypt, and aware of secrets in her own past, Mary thinks that Len is trying to turn himself into her dead father. Floods and fire come into the narrative, but despite these natural disasters and many of the conventional accoutrements of horror, Cadnum fails to imbue his story with genuine suspense. The writing is deliberately oblique, the characters are flat and their dialogue virtually interchangeable. And the plot device of a spectral voice has been seriously overdone. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Poet Cadnum ( Invisible Mirror ) tries his hand at prose in this first novel of macabre suspense set in Northern California. San Francisco restaurant critic Paul Wright and his girlfriend travel to wine country to check on Paul's eerie cousin Len. Len lives in a remote cabin and likes to spend his time staking out cemeteries armed with a camera. When our heroes arrive at Len's vacant cabin and find his private stash of gruesome graveyard photos, they realize the depth of his obsession and the possible danger to themselves. Despite sound plot mechanics, Cadnum's characters prove as realistic as cardboard cutouts and fail to evoke much empathy. Still, this first effort shows promise of better things to come. For larger fiction collections.-- Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.