No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Thursday, June 01, 1995

The Night Inside -- Nancy Baker

Ardeth Alexander, a research student in Toronto, has measured out her life in careful plans and predictable behaviour. It’s a guarded life, with no one allowed to become too important to her - except her younger sister Sara, singer with the rock band Black Sun, for whom Ardeth is a refuge in an uncertain world. But Ardeth’s researches, unknown to her, have uncovered truths that some would rather not have revealed. She is abducted and imprisoned in an abandoned asylum - where, each night, she is required to give her blood to the monster in the next cell. Helplessly, she submits, planning her escape; but gradually it becomes clear that there is only one, ghastly, way out. How else can she avenge what has been done to her? And Ardeth is not the only victim; there are all the dead girls, the actresses, out in the gully with stakes through their hearts ...

The sacrifices Ardeth must make are sympathetically described; there’s a real sense of the anguish she feels at giving up everything normal and safe. Only then can she learn the lessons that her old, orderly existence denied. In the city, a killer is stalking. Sara is hunting, relentlessly, for her lost sister. A wealthy recluse sits and pores over her grandfather’s diaries, searching for clues. And Ardeth is seeking out the real monsters; whatever they may be, they are more dreadful than the man who shared her imprisonment.

‘The Night Inside’ combines elements of thriller, romance and gory horror; despite the occasionally clumsy style, it’s a good read.

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