Near the end of Peter Straub’s Lost Boy, Lost Girl I discovered he wrote a sequel to the book that was released in 2004, a year after the first one. So I looked up the book at the library by my house –and not a huge surprise- they did not have In The Night Room (when it comes to the books I want to read, my library –a four minute walk from my front door- never carries them), but the San Dimas location did. I was going to go there, but on Friday last week, I went to the local used book store by my house and found a beat-up copy at the Book Rack, so I bought it.
In some ways, this book seems less a sequel and more a continuation of Lost Boy, Lost Girl. Set a year after those events, Tim Underhill is struggling writing his newest book. Still traumatized by the loss of his nephew -to some Elsewhere land- he begins getting cryptic email messages that tell him that the Dark Man –Joseph Kalendar- is in need of something, and Underhill is the man to do it. Whether he wants to or not. He’s also being stalked by a fan that has menace on the mind. Meanwhile, we meet a woman named Willy Patrick –who after a horrible young life that continued with the murder of her husband and daughter- who is about to marry the perfect man –at least in her eyes. But this award winning author is also drawn into places, like a warehouse, where she knows that her daughter Holly is being held in there, despite knowing she is dead.
But worlds are about to collide for both Tim and Willy, and the doorway between reality and fiction blurs and nothing will be the same.
With In the Night Room, Straub’s recent stab at metafiction comes fully out. Readers of Jasper Fforde will understand what Straub is doing here, by creating a novel within a novel, and mixing in some dark fantasy along with psychological horror, he blends the genres and creates a fast-paced, at times Dickensesque type story.
Plus, I sense, Straub is not done with this arc.