Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tregarde 01: Burning Water (Lackey)

Score: 5/5
Year: 1989
Read Again? Yes

Second of three in a series of horror/fantasy/mystery novels. It takes place maybe 10 years after "Children of the Night," though it was actually published a year before (hence me putting this one first), and this one comes off much better in execution and style.

This one's a lot more graphic than "Children." People start dying shortly after the big 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, turning up hacked-up, diced-up, sliced-up, and toes-up. Diana Tregarde's college pal Mark Valdez--a cop in Dallas--summons her to help out. The killings have everyone freaked out--mundane folks are disturbed by the brutality, but those with any magic or psychic abilities are affected even more deeply. Something is building. Something evil. It started with cattle mutilations. Then people. This is all a build-up to a ceremony in which an Aztec god is born into human form so he can raise up his people and go forth to smite Whitey. That whole Conquistadors thing, with the butchering of an entire culture and the sacking and the looting? Yeah, he didn't appreciate that.

That seems bad--but he's gonna lay waste to Dallas. Is that so wrong? One amusing bit: at least one killing happens in Possum Kingdom (State Park), inspiration for the Toadies song of the same name.

The main subplot is about Sherry and her husband Robert, both friends of Mark's. Smilin' Bob is a famous photographer and an abusive, controlling asshole, and Mark is caught up in the middle.

Like so many of the books in my collection, it's been close to ten years since I last read any of the Tregarde books. This copy used to belong to that unlamented ex-girlfriend; it's got scribbles in the margins, little notes I wrote to her with her permission--normally I'll only do that with my own books, commenting on a scene or a phrase. I can't even identify with the guy who wrote those stupid, banal scrawls. In another ten years, I won't identify with the guy writing this stupid, banal blog, so it all evens out.

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