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Wither

by J.G. Passarella

Library Journal In the historic town of Winfield, MA, a cyclical evil arises to feed its thirst and seek hosts for a new incarnation, drawing the townspeople into a nightmare of blood and terror. Passarella's tale of the struggle between white and black magic combines scenes of graphic violence with psychological terror in a blend that should appeal to fans of the genre. Sympathetic male and female protagonists add depth and emotional impact, making this title a good choice for most horror collections.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Windale, Massachusetts, is a small town known for Danfield College and a grim bit of American history. Three women were hanged 300 years ago, when witchcraft fever swept New England. In the 1990s, the chamber of commerce cashed in on this ugly event, renaming two streets Theurgy Lane and Familiar Avenue and holding a Frost Festival and parade every Halloween. Unfortunately, there was more behind the hangings than hysteria and superstition, and this fall three undead creatures stalk Windale again. Wendy, the college president's 19-year-old daughter, is a student of feminine spirituality, meditation, and herbal medicine. When she conducts a private ritual in a forest clearing, she attracts one of the three witches. The others close in on a little girl and a pregnant English professor, respectively, and the men involved with the chosen victims seem destined to be no more than prey. A made-for-TV movie plot is enhanced by appealing characters, especially Wendy and her shy, would-be boyfriend Alex, who battle with brave ingenuity. --Roberta Johnson

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Sabrina the Teenage Witch goes to college in this atmospheric, generally suspenseful horror story. Wendy Ward is a white magic practitioner who dresses in shades of black, and an unconventional freshman at exclusive Danfield College in Massachusetts, where her father is president. Windale, the town where Danfield is located, has been promoting its past persecution of witches as a tourist draw, hoping to cash in on the popularity of nearby Salem. On the eve of the King Frost Halloween Parade, Wendy performs an empowering ritual that goes awry, unleashing dark forces hundreds of years old. Three murderous Macbethian witches, led by the semi-immortal Elizabeth Wither, begin to haunt Wendy's dreams, as well as those of a pregnant English professor and an eight-year-old girl. As it becomes apparent that there is a curse on Windale, Wendy desperately attempts to reverse what she's started and finds herself drawn ineluctably toward the evil she's trying to control. While the authentic arcana of witchcraft provides background, the plot is derivative, with hints of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Yet the college setting adds an interesting dimension, and the characters are nicely delineated. Although this unusual mix of horror story, thriller and college romance is likely to draw protests from serious followers of ancient wicca rites, readers who savor supernatural menace will enjoy its edge. (Feb.) FYI: J.G. Passarella is the pseudonym for two Hollywood writers.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.