Friday, November 28, 2008

The Homing by Jeffrey Campbell

I couldn't find a thing about this book anywhere online, and I can't find my copy of the book to get the author's name off of (edit: found it). Even this cover image is my rough Photoshopped approximation of the cover. I guess that means The Homing is either a lost classic or a piece of junk better off forgotten.

I bought this book (at Goodwill, .69) for two reasons. 1) The premise, a small town in upstate New York being taken over by a malevolent hospital, sounded interesting in a pulpy, cheap kind of way. 2) The name of the town is Chilton. An inside joke for the loyal 50Bers.

So, a retired cop, Darryl, visits his estranged daughter, Claire, in Chilton. They are estranged because she left college and a promising career as a doctor to marry a man (Phil), and move to Chilton to be his loyal housewife. Ever since the move, Claire hasn't seemed quite like herself. Darryl's first night in Claire and Phil's house is one of the only genuinely creepy bits in the whole novel, but it does manage to create an atmosphere where nothing is overtly wrong but nothing is quite right either.

Unfortunately, the book can't quite decide what it wants to be, so it jumps from atmospheric pulp to weak-sauce thriller to weird old-people romance to government conspiracy and back again over and over and over. By the time it ends (with Darryl being brainwashed into a permanent citizen of Chilton, for those interested), it's kind of numbing and really dull.

Also, the hospital mentioned in the back of the book? Two, three pages, max. I don't even remember what it was for. I would say making the fake cover was more fun than the book.


Carlton said...

This one sounds like a real winner.

Brooke said...

Gotta watch out for Chilton.

Christopher said...

I don't get the inside joke.