by Richard Matheson
Category: Fiction / Horror
224 pages; ISBN: 0765311712
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Tor, Apr 2005, $13.95, 224 pp.
In Southern California, David and Ellen Cooper recognize that their two decade plus marriage is collapsing, but neither want to give up on the other. They agree to a change of scenery to see if they can renew their vows. Thus the couple lease a beach cottage in Long island.
Not long after settling into their temporary retreat, Mariana comes out of nowhere to see David. He is immediately enchanted by the beautiful ephemeral females. However, when he thinks lucidly he feels guilty that he has illicit thoughts for another woman while trying to salvage his marriage. Still guilty or not he is unable to resist Mariana’s lure and they make love in a secret room in what has become hell house; David turns increasingly despondent that he cheated yet obsessed for wanting more while Ellen cannot fathom what is happening to him. Every time he and Mariana make love, his depression and need intensify as she sucks away the very core of David’s essence from him until she threatens Ellen. Deep inside his depraved soul his heart still loves Ellen and no one including a succubus that has psychically controlled him through sex will prevent him risking his life to keep his beloved safe.
EARTHBOUND is a tense ghost story filled with suspense that grips the audience wondering who Mariana is. In some ways the story line is a love story as David regains some of his equilibrium and what defines him as human once he realizes Mariana menaces Ellen. Though the sexual encounters demonstrate Mariana’s power over David, this interrupts a terse ghost story in which the incredible shrinking soul must fight his obsession to save his beloved.
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