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Dark Homecoming

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Lew Croaker was last seen assisting Nicholas Linnear in his battle to retain his corporation and regain his wife in THE KAISHO (1993). As a token of gratitude and affection, Linnear instructed his engineers to prepare a biomechanical hand to replace the one Croaker lost in an earlier confrontation on Linnear’s behalf. Never, under the circumstances, was a gift more appreciated, and given the course of events as recounted in DARK HOMECOMING a most fortuitous acquisition.

Croaker is not unacquainted with the dark side of human nature and on more than one occasion he has discovered that things do go bump in the night. However, all previous villains pale into insignificance when compared with the brothers Bonita. Antonio and Heitor are not just garden variety psychopaths, they are possessed, in a manner familiar to devotees of Lustbader’s works, of powers which defy explanation by traditional scientific means.

DARK HOMECOMING recounts Lew Croakers’ journey through a psychic inferno wherein nothing and no one is what it appears to be or might even become. The forces of evil, secular and divine, assail Croaker on all sides and he dare not trust anyone. Croaker must face two unpleasant truths: not only does he risk betrayal at every turn but his every action serves to expose those he loves to certain destruction.

On occasion Lustbader becomes overwhelmingly entranced with a turn of phrase. Lew Croaker “extrudes stainless-steel nails” from the tips of his biomechanical hand so frequently as to render the action ludicrous. Nevertheless, stylistic quirks aside, Lustbader weaves a tale that enthralls, whilst creating villains utterly devoid of human compassion.