Fiction, Horror Muriel Gray Furnace

ISBN 13: 9780006496403

Furnace

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9780006496403: Furnace

When truck driver Josh Spiller pulls into the small town of Furnace all he wants is food and rest. But Furnace has something special in store for Josh. Amongst the affluent houses and townsfolk lurks the stuff of living nightmare. A world of sorcery and malice is waiting to gather him in.

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Review:

Josh Spiller is a long-distance truck driver. Although his girlfriend is pregnant, he's got no major personal problems--until the day he rolls into a small town called Furnace, where a middle-aged woman pushes a baby carriage straight into his wheels and then vanishes. The dead baby's teenage mother and other passers-by swear the wind caused the carriage to roll, and the police take Josh for a troublemaker when he insists on writing a statement to the contrary. Shaken, Josh hits the road again, only to find that it's not so easy to get away from Furnace; something inhuman is hot on his heels. A pretty hitchhiker recognizes a mysterious scrap of writing in his truck as ancient runes spelling out--on human skin--a horrific curse. From then on, all roads lead back to Furnace as Josh races to unscramble a weird puzzle involving a wealthy town councilor, the Philosopher's Stone, and a demon who will destroy Josh in three days unless he returns the runes to their rightful place.

The rotating point of view can be confusing, and the language (Gray is Scottish) occasionally doesn't ring true to an American ear. Nevertheless, this is a grand, terrifying tale.

From the Publisher:

Alchemy: the summoning and control of demons. Those who cross the alchemist are in danger of being disposed of. The easiest way to do this? Cast the runes: strips of flesh made from the dried skin of a child sacrifice and inscribed with the time the victim has yet to live...

When trucker Josh Spiller pulls his rig into the small town of Furnace, Virginia, all he wants is a decent meal before getting back on the road and away from his memories of a bitter quarrel with his girlfriend. Instead, he witnesses a baby's violent death and can't convince the sheriff that the upstanding, well-dressed woman he saw leaving the scene was responsible. Shaken by his experience, he rolls out of Furnace, stopping to pick up a desperately attractive, female hitchhiker who seems to have the answers to some of his questions about the inhabitants of Furnace--and who is just as anxious to get out of town as he is.

Soon after, Josh begins to feel eyes watching him--the burning eyes of misshapen creatures. Is it possible to have nightmares while you're awake? And just as his grip on what's real and what's imagined begins to slip, he makes a bizarre discovery: someone has slipped him what looks like parchment, inscribed with the words, "five days alive permitted." Something unnatural is happening in Furnace, but will Josh be around long enough to unravel its secrets?

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