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Winter Tides Hardcover – August 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
Haunted by the memory of only being able to save one twin girl from drowning, Dave Quinn abandons surfing for a safe life in Earl Dalton's theater-props company in Huntington Beach, California. When Canadian artist Anne Morris is drawn back to the town where twin sister Elinor drowned 15 years before, she and Dave find themselves shadowed by Elinor's malevolent spirit. Earl's son Edmund believes that Elinor's spirit is Anne's dark side and obsessively pursues her. Blaylock's (All the Bells on Earth, LJ 11/15/95) vivid descriptions and deft characterizations place ordinary flawed people in escalating horrific situations. This contemporary ghost story exposes the underbelly of human nature and belongs in most fantasy and horror collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
More contemporary supernatural horror from the author of All the Bells on Earth (1995), etc. When surfer Dave Quinn saved a young girl from the sea, her twin sister eluded him and drowned. Now, 15 years later, Dave still lives in Huntington Beach, Calif., where he builds scenery for a theater warehouse owned by the rich Earl Dalton--this despite frequent clashes with Earl's creepy eldest son Edmund, whose interests include black magic, snuff movies, and defrauding Earl of various properties. The warehouse's latest employee is artist Anne Morris, whom Dave recognizes as the girl he saved. Anne's dead sister Elinor--a ghostly presence ever since she drowned--crafted a disturbing set of dolls and paintings, which Anne has kept. Edmund discovers the paintings and dolls and assumes they're Anne's; later, he's possessed by Elinor, discovers a secret entrance into Anne's apartment, and uses Elinor's dolls to set fires. Eventually, enraged by the growing closeness between Anne and Dave, and inspired by the evil Elinor, Edmund embarks on a campaign of arson, murder, kidnapping, and torture. A lovingly evoked ocean/beachscape, along with Blaylock's usual hardworking characters--but the drama never quite coheres, and the ending just dangles. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Dave and the sisters were there, all right, but they were dealt with shallowly. Even when the story was being told from Dave or Anne's point of view, the author never really went deeply into what they were thinking or feeling, just their physical actions. Elinor, the ghost sister, gets even shorter shrift, and mainly seems to be a plot device. The romance between Dave and Anne is skimmed over, and both of their feelings for Elinor are summed up in a few sentences here and there. The only intricate characterization in the book is that of Edmund, a true loony who thinks torturing people is a fine art form. Blaylock does a good job of depicting him, but I wasn't expecting a psychopath story, I don't really like psychopath stories, they're just not my thing. I was led to expect a ghost story and a love story.
If you like novels about psychopaths and serial killers, go ahead and buy this--it's well done if you like that sort of thing. Blaylock's subtlety and restraint leave the worst bits to the imagination, thereby creating a more palpable terror. Just don't buy this if you're looking for a dark fantasy or a romance.