Lost Boy Lost Girl
Lost Boy Lost Girl
By Peter Straub
This book was my first introduction to Peter Straub, and I bought it under the pretense of all the acclaim it had received. Lost Boy Lost Girl is something of a fence-sitter for me in that it waited too long to get some gusto in it, and once it did, it rode on that gusto too long, burning it out. In other words, the book had some high points and some low points, with the low points being the beginning and the end. Only if you are a determined reader can you make it through this book, reaping the rewards of the middle.
One of the central characters is a novelist by the name of Timothy Underhill. Mr. Underhill finds himself in the middle of a mystery when his nephew disappears shortly after his sister-in-laws suicide. It soon becomes obvious that the suicide, disappearance, a haunted house next door, an elusive serial killer and the town?s first serial killer all have something in common. Now I don?t know about anyone else, but those are just a few too many horror story variables for me. Simplicity is the essence of a good story, and this is far from simplicity.
So Nancy Underhill kills herself, her son Mark finds her body, and becomes obsessed with discovering why mom flipped out and did herself in. Shortly before mom?s death mom finds Mark playing around near the sinister house next door and makes him vow to never return. So now Mark links the house with mom?s suicide and moves in for a closer look at the house. There appears to be a lot girl in the house ? a lost teenage girl. Mark visits the house more often, realizing the girl is an apparition. More sleuthing reveals that the towns first serial killer was mom?s cousin, and that he owned the house Mark has become so interested in. From there it is revealed that a serial killer is preying on teenage boys around Mark?s age in the area, and his inspiration is (of course) mom?s cousin.
So Mark disappears, Uncle Tim helps find the serial killer, and Mark has dissolved into the world of the unknown after it is revealed that he was not a victim of the serial killer. Was is interesting to note is that Mark has an utter fascination with the lost girl, makes love to her in the troubling home, and ultimately runs off with her into this ghostly world, all under the auspices of her being his cousin.
Ultimately I think that Straub should have left this one on the shelf ? or better yet, separate this one into the four horror stories he was trying to write and give them all separate and distinct names.