By Carsten Stroud

Knopf 24.95 400 pages

Rainey Teague, a pale blond kid with a gangly way of going, disappears from the face of the earth. The Niceville Police Department manages to ID the last person to see the missing kid. Alf Pennington, who runs a used bookstore, noted the kid passing his shop along his usual route home. To further complicate matters, the antique shop next door caught the boy’s image on its digital security system. The image was clear: the boy was there, staring into the window, and in the next frame, he was gone.

By 35 pages into Niceville, I was hooked. However, from that point on, the book loses steam, as it slips into the supernatural forces that involve the missing kid, mirrors, and people long dead but affecting current events. The novel certainly has its moments of clarity, but then tends to wander in a murky, shadowy world of images in antique mirrors and people disappearing into a dark underworld of old Southern mysticism. Most of the dots never get connected, and the ending does leave a lot of unanswered questions, almost as if there may be a sequel, which I will skip.

Reviewed By Dick Morris

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