Published January 16. 2014 4:00AM
One of the reasons the horror genre took a big hit was simply an overdose of the usual monster types and a lack of creativity when it came to inventing new menace. Rice has come up with one helluva concept indigenous to New Orleans and the swamps of south Louisiana, but don't even start to think of a Loup Garou, voodoo or even mutant gators. High school pals Nikki, Ben and Anthem were inseparable until the creepy Marshall becomes obsessed with Nikki and briefly works his way into her graces. When she discovers his true nature, Marshall engineers a tragic accident involving her whole family - followed shortly by his own bizarre suicide attempt that leaves him in a vegetative state. Or so it seems. As Ben and Anthem try to survive their grief over Nikki's loss, they act on instincts that something was not quite rational or normal about Marshall's activities - and that something's definitely amiss despite his psychotic condition, particularly considering the curious and horrible activities that seem to occur near him. Rice is a glorious writer and his fluid take on the supernatural is fresh, clever and riveting.
- RICK KOSTER