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Superstition Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446523445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446523448
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans of the X-Files will find this novel of the paranormal a very worthy diversion. With its consistent and intelligent narrative voice, Superstition heightens the terror with its careful balance of the real, the scientifically plausible, and the fantastic.

When university psychologist Sam Towne assembles a group of eight people to test his hypothesis that group telepathy can call into being a ghost who exists only in their imagination, he gets much more than he bargained for. And Joanna Cross, the cynical reporter who sniffs another headline-making story about fraudulent spiritualists, is glad to play along. But when Adam Wyatt, the Revolutionary War hero created in a group exercise, breaks through from another dimension and reveals himself to be a darker shade than anyone could have guessed, those who thought him into existence are stymied in their efforts to send him back where he came from. As members of the group who would deny him reality begin to die, Sam and Joanna realize the strength of the force they've unleashed, but it may be too late to recapture it. Reason, logic, and faith fail them, and even the power of the love that flourishes between the two attractive protagonists may not be enough to put the genie back in the bottle. Superstition is a riveting supernatural thriller that will keep readers turning pages--each more horrifying than the next--until the shocking denouement. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

For a scientific experiment in psychokinesis, university psychologist Sam Towne assembles a group of eight individuals who, using the power of their collective consciousness, create a "ghost" with whom they hope to communicate. With ace investigative journalist (and love interest) Joanna Cross on hand to bear witness, the scientific seances at Manhattan University succeed all too well: the entity the group conjures up not only communicates with them but also becomes integral to their lives?and deaths. British author Ambrose (The Man Who Turned into Himself) takes a poor paranormal premise and eventually overcomes it with a ripping good ending. Despite the publisher's play-up of the novel as supernatural suspense and horror, the book is almost science fictional as Ambrose ultimately speculates on a time-travel theory postulating that the past comes out of the present instead of the present emerging from the past. According to Ambrose's acknowledgments, the story is based on "an experiment that actually took place" in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, the author brings neither his almost comically dated fake psychic schemers nor parapsychology into the '90s. But his well-toned technique and winning characterizations carry patient readers along to the core of the story. The plot falters slightly as it falls into a "Don't-open-that-door!" groove and a lot of people suddenly and mysteriously drop dead. Once over the low hurdles, however, Ambrose plays an unflinching mastergame of reality manipulation right through to a chilling checkmate of an ending that is genuinely frightening. Film rights sold to Interscope for $1 million; foreign rights sold in Germany and Holland.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I felt a couple chills as I read this one.
Huntress Reviews
In addition to creating a very believable ghost, Ambrose gets into some interesting speculations along the lines of Sci/Fi's "Alternate Universes" theory.
Michael J. Hoerr
This was definitely a good read, and I highly recommend it if you like your horror to present a bit of intelligence along with the chills.
mellion108

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mellion108 VINE VOICE on March 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
SUPERSTITION is my introduction to David Ambrose. I just happened to stumble across him surfing through amazon.com one lazy evening. I can now say I am an Ambrose fan and will go on to his other novels.

SUPERSITION might take some a few pages to "get into". But once you get going, you just have to find out how it ends. The love story between Sam and Joanne adds a bit of spice without bogging down the ghost story. This isn't a gory slasher novel. It deals with the psychology of fear, alternate universes, the powerful effect of the human mind, and plain 'ole revenge! Read this book for the ending if for nothing else. At times it rambles, but everything pulls together (trust me). This was definitely a good read, and I highly recommend it if you like your horror to present a bit of intelligence along with the chills.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Hoerr on December 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book really scared me. I literally couldn't put it down. I read it straight through in one sitting, took a deep breath, and started over again from the beginning. Finally, the sun came up and I was able to go to sleep. It's very odd that the Amazon readers' reviews range from "ho-hum" to "extremely scary." I guess it depends on the reader's idea of just what's scary. For example, Stephen King has yet to give me the creeps, but how can you deny his almost universal popularity? If you like gory, monster/madmen-filled fiction, you may not like "Superstition."
I think Ambrose pulled off a very difficult feat: after reading this book for a while, you get the feeling that something real, or at least possible, is happening. In addition to creating a very believable ghost, Ambrose gets into some interesting speculations along the lines of Sci/Fi's "Alternate Universes" theory. Does the past create the present? Or could the present create the past? Can you "make up" a ghost that takes on a life of its own and becomes a "real" ghost? Real to such an extent that he's able to change reality for the participants in the experiment? Ambrose touches on these ideas and even a smattering of quantum physics, but these enhance the story line and do not interfere with the good old-fashioned ghost story fun.
FYI, the film rights to this book were sold to a company called Interscope for one million dollars. The foreign film rights were sold to a Netherlands/United Kingdom production company in October, 2001. I hope the movie version is able to capture the creepy but believable feel of the book and doesn't resort to cheap thrills.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
After reading several reviews of this book I could not wait to get it. I went out that very night and bought it. I was up until about 3 a.m. and then could not fall asleep right away because the book scared me so much. Then, the next day - I couldn't wait to get back to it. I was totally disappointed - what a let down. What happened to Adam Wyatt? The ghost was such a great part of the book and then poof! he was gone - no explanation and then the confusion of Ralph Cazaubon and Joanna. I guess I'll have to wait for the movie - maybe the movie will integrate more of the ghost and explain exactly what happend to Joanna.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on August 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine inventing the ghost of someone who has never existed. Make him anyone you like, from any country and any time you like. Give him a name, a history, goals and dreams. Fun to think about, but it would never work. But it did work for university professor Sam Towne and a small group of volunteers. It worked too well. Dangerously well.
`Superstition' is a gripping, nail-biting horror story that will cause you to wonder not only about the paranormal, but about the people you encounter everyday. Were they "invented" by someone else's imagination? Why did they just suddenly appear? Ambrose asks some difficult questions and places himself in some very difficult situations for a writer, but he's definitely up to handling each challenge. Ambrose is a master craftsman. He builds a completely plausible story with instantly believable characters. The atmosphere and descriptions are so good, you'll think you're in this predicament yourself. Enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on July 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Parapsychologist Sam Towne runs a research facility that conducts investigations into paranormal anomalies--observable instances of psychokinesis, the movement of matter through psychic power. When he meets Joanna Cross, a staff writer for the magazine Around Town who has just published an article exposing a couple of mind-readers as con artists, an interesting group project suggests itself: Sam and Joanna decide to enlist volunteers to help them conjure up a ghost. The phantom they have in mind is not your run-of-the-mill, graveyard-haunting variety, but rather a thought-form that the group members will hallucinate into being, after extensive research into the time period from which their ghost hails, and after creating for him an elaborate back-story. The problem is, once you will something into being, it may not be eager to give up the ghost, as it were, when you'd like it to.

David Ambrose's thriller Superstition is intelligent and genuinely scary in parts, and its conclusion, despite being hinted at in a prologue, is impossible to figure out in advance. Part Jack Finney's Time and Again (a book the characters in Superstition in fact discuss), part ghost story, the book--if not offering the sort of suspense that will keep you glued to the pages all night--is well worth the read.

Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
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