Sometimes good writers produce crappy novels. Such is the case with William Peter Blatty’s Elsewhere. Blatty is a master of supernatural and horror fiction. Hell, Stephen King might have remained a high school English teacher if Blatty hadn’t kicked the door to the horror genre open with The Exorcist in 1971. Blatty’s Legion is an equally important work in the field. But Elsewhere isn’t. This is the same “skeptics in a haunted house” set-up we’ve seen many times before, from The Haunting to House On Haunted Hill. And the “twist” ending Blatty offers is stale and simply doesn’t play in a post “Sixth Sense” society. Blatty gets two stars for the sheer force of his characters. His leads have awful names—a woman named Freeboard, and a gay man named Dare—but they’ve got the spark of life. At one point Dare finds himself an unexpected hero to Freeboard. “What is the meaning of this ludicrous courage? he marveled. It never would’ve occurred to him that the answer was love.” That’s a good line, written by a good writer. Unfortunately the rest of Elsewhere doesn’t measure up.
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