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by J.G. Passarella

Category: Fiction / Horror
304 pages; ISBN: 0-671-02480-9

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: William Fare


Sometimes the old formula is the best formula. At least that must be the thinking behind J.G. Passarella`s first novel, "Wither" (1999). Every horror cliche that could be used is thrown in the mix. We`ve got college kids getting killed on the college running track. We`ve got the hippie college radio station director being chased through the stacks of old LPs. We`ve even got a little sex play and witchcraft involving nude coeds in the dark woods. What more can you ask for?

Seriously, though, Passarella`s writing may skirt Stephen King territory a little too closely sometimes, but this is still a fun horror romp.

"Wither" tells the tale of a small town (not far from Salem, Mass.) and an annoying curse that shows up every 100 years to revive three witches who need to prey on human flesh to survive. Wendy Ward, full-time student and part-time practitioner of witchcraft, is the first to notice the changes coming over the town. Her attempts at halting the curse through magic are unsuccessful, but she finds herself involved in reliving the life of a 17th century woman hanged for murder.

None of this matters, really, and much of the plot line wears a little thin. There are factual errors everywhere, but the enthusiasm that Passarella has for his material hasn`t been seen in the books by other leading horror authors in years. There are truly exciting car chases, building implosions, flying gargoyle-like demons, and even a little New Age lesson or two.

If you need a light read and don`t mind some light gore, this one is creepy enough to warrant a night light. It`s the paper version of the "Scream" movies, in a way, but sometimes that`s just what`s called for, trashy or not.


Buy Wither at
Buy Wither at


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