Help me remember this disturbing horror novel
November 1, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Do you recognize this disturbing horror novel I read when I was far too young to do so? Plot details below the fold, NSFW and potentially triggery.

I pulled it off my mom's "forbidden" shelf in the early 90s, and it could be from as far back as the late 70s, but given the style of the cover and the writing style it's probably from the mid- or late-80s. I don't think it was by any of the major recognizable horror writers.

The main characters are a brother and sister and their father. Brother and sister are in the throes of puberty and play secret sex games with each other, including one where one of them plays dead/passed out and the other can do what they want to them. Dad is a cop investigating a series of horrible murders (with a sexual component) of local teenage girls. There's something spiritual/psychic energy-related going on. At one point he consults a mysterious mystical Asian woman who has no hair on her entire body. I believe she's a lesbian, and there's some scene where she paints a spell or prayer on her own body or her lover's.

Of course it turns out that **SPOILERS!** the dad is the one responsible for the killings, he just didn't know it because he was blacking out during episodes of violent rage triggered by... the sexual energy coming from young girls blossoming into womanhood? Or something. The climax of the book has him attacking his own daughter.

Sound familiar to anyone?
posted by rhiannonstone to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not 100% sure, but this sounds very VC Andrews to me. I read a bunch of them when was about 10 in the early 90s--far too young, also--and this description is ringing a bell. It's not Flowers in the Attic but I think it might be one of the ones following it. I think.
posted by millipede at 10:41 PM on November 1, 2011

It is most definitely not a VC Andrews book. Mom had the Dollanganger Saga (Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, etc) as well as a couple other of the VC Andrews series on that same shelf, and I read them all, too. The book I'm looking for wasn't written in her style (or that of her ghostwriter), and I'm 90% certain the author was male, or at least had a male-sounding name.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:58 PM on November 1, 2011

A VC Andrews fan should clarify. I remember a friend describing a VC Andrews story like this around 1986 or a bit later. Maybe I've got the author wrong, but that's what jumped to mind, so it might give you a timeframe.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:35 PM on November 1, 2011

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (also author of the Science Fiction Culture series as Iain M Banks)
posted by zippy at 11:43 PM on November 1, 2011

This is where I have to admit I'm a VC Andrews fan beyond having just read a few off of my mom's shelf, isn't it? I admit that I am, and have even read her horrible early attempt at sci-fi. None of her stories match this one (other than the general themes of incest and sex-negativity). And anyway I would have recognized VC Andrews' name on the cover at the time and it would have stuck in my mind, and I know the book I'm looking for is definitely not hers.

And it's nothing so highbrow as Iain Banks, either. This was a trashy mass-market paperback horror by an author whose name wouldn't have been recognizable to a very well-read preteen me. (However! The Wasp Factory is now on my to-read list, so thanks.)
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:51 PM on November 1, 2011

That is not The Wasp Factory.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on November 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

Artw is correct.
posted by ian1977 at 12:23 AM on November 2, 2011

The wikipedia entry for VC Andrews has a link to a separate page for each novel. It wouldn't take that long to go through those.
posted by ian1977 at 12:26 AM on November 2, 2011

While we're naming major authors that it probably isn't, I'll throw Dean Koontz and John Saul out there as other prolific writers in the soup├žon of incest / children in peril / with a touch or more of the supernatural / not to mention other sexual themes / and a killer on the loose / but there's a twist genre. My gut feeling is there were literally thousands of novels like that in the late 70s to early 90s, but Koontz and Saul wrote a noticeable fraction of those.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:48 AM on November 2, 2011

Wikipedia incest in popular culture names a number of books without the rest of the themes (murder etc) being noted.
posted by b33j at 12:53 AM on November 2, 2011

Could it be The Cement Garden?
posted by foleypt at 5:36 AM on November 2, 2011

It's not remotely like The Wasp Factory or The Cement Garden. Those are really strange suggestions since they bear no resemblance to the plot as described.
posted by OmieWise at 5:42 AM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]

Could it be an Andrew Neiderman book? He was a ghost writer for V.C. Andrews.
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:04 AM on November 2, 2011

I looked through our library databases and used every librarian trick I know...and was unable to find anything. Darn! I hate it when that happens!

However, your local librarians might know more than me. If you brought this question to your library they might be able to help you out...and if they're good librarians, there will be diligent searching with no raised eyebrows. If you don't feel comfortable going in in person, many large libraries have instant messaging reference or email reference.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:48 AM on November 2, 2011

Firefly by Piers Anthony.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2011

Definitely on the naughty shelf in my house as well.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2011

On reread of your description, though, probably not.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:35 AM on November 2, 2011

Wow - I was thinking, "The description of that book reminds me of Pin..." and then looked it up to see who wrote it. And saw, that "Wow, it's Andrew Neiderman." Thanks, dgeiser13. Now I know where to find lots more of the vintage creepy naughtybooks that remind me of my youth.
posted by peagood at 10:44 AM on November 2, 2011

I read this book (also when I was far too young), probably around 1986. I'm afraid I can't help you with the title or author, except that I for some reason associate it with the guy that played Roman Brady on Days of Our Lives, so the author or a character's name might have Drake or Hogestyn or Roman or Brady in it, or the guy on the cover may have looked like him, or I may just have been reading it while watching Days, or I might for some highly disturbing reason which I will never explore somehow connect him with incest or murderous sexual psychic energy.
posted by amarynth at 7:51 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Final update from the OP:
It's Worst Enemies by Jack Scaparro
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:26 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Hacking fast food   |   he really likes you, tubby! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.