Booklist Review



Jack Mustaine discovers Grail, Louisiana, when the BMW he "borrowed" to leave L.A. breaks down outside the town. The sheriff nearly scams him out of the car before Grail's top dog, Joe Dill, comes to the rescue. Then Dill brings Jack to Le Bon Chance saloon, where Jack starts wondering whether he was rescued. After luscious Vida Dumars takes him home, he starts doubting his sanity. Vida's a prodigious lay, and Jack thinks he's in love, but tomorrow is St. John's Eve, when the new Midsummer Queen will be chosen by the Good Gray Man, and outgoing MQ Vida has to pass the scepter to a 10-year-old. Plenty of people tell Jack to get Vida out of town beforehand, and he wants to, but . . . Shepard proffers the kind of story Val Lewton made into 1940s B-movie horror classics (e.g., I Walked with a Zombie), but he steams it up with sex and purple (well, mauve) prose so effectively that it could be a Twilight Zone episode by Tennessee Williams. Tangy. — Ray Olson

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