DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

Fog Heart
Thomas Tessier
St. Martin's Press/319 pp./$23.95
ISBN 0-312-18098-5

Inlaid in the floors of some ancient cathedrals there are ancient patterns that form labyrinths. Similar to mazes, they differ in one important respect: such a labyrinth contains no misleading dead ends, no tricks to trap those who follow the path. Walking such a path, it is said, can be a spiritual experience.

Fog Heart, by Thomas Tessier, is a labyrinth. Written in a deliberate, enigmatic, twisting but never deceptive pattern, it that leads you to the inner torments of the characters, and somehow back out again. You come away changed by the experience of reading it.

Carrie is suddenly haunted by her dead father. Oliver, her debonair (and, unknown to her, dangerously psychopathic) husband doesn't take her seriously. Charley and Jan, another couple, seem to be getting messages from an infant daughter, dead for many years. Both couples find their individual ways to Oona, a mysterious young woman who proves to be a genuine medium, and her sister Roz. Eventually Oona senses that the four are somehow connected and brings them together to set off psychic sparks.

What in other hands could be hackneyed elements -- spiritualism, seances, ghosts -- are mixed with the horror of dysfunctional relationships, disturbing secrets, depraved sexual kinks, and sadistic psycho-killers to provide a complex framework for Tessier's elegant style. Vivid, lucid characterization brings the novel to life, but it's Tessier's perfectly placed, savage thrusts of violence -- his slicing explorations of human relationships, love, sex, and evil -- that make Fog Heart so stunningly effective.

Where others merely write -- Tessier works labyrinthine, transformative magic with words. Fog Heart is a path that must be explored -- Paula Guran<

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.