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Two and one half moon gifAvon Spike (Hardcover), ISBN 0380976722
Insanity, insanity -- it's all about insanity! 

Have you ever read one of those books that, after you read it, you begin to wonder if you really did read it?

Book: Richard Grant, Kaspian LostKaspian Lost by Richard Grant is one of those books. Starting with teenage "rebel without a cause" Kaspian Aaby and Kaspian's history of dysfunctional family life, Richard Grant takes us on a wonderful story of, well, something different.  

The story starts when Kaspian, once again defying authority, walks out of the special Accelerated Skills Acquisition Camp in Glassport, Maine, straight into a Steven Spielberg-type close encounter of the third kind.  

On the alien ship, the dwarves don't exactly qualify as eye candy, but hey, dig the angelic lady chick. How many women can silence you with a touch? Well -- a few, sort of. Even so, Kaspian's fate follows the usual pattern of alien abduction and experimentation. Kaspian never lets on what really happened during this period. Perhaps Kaspian doesn't even know himself. But the return, after the abduction, of a lost childhood toy really spooks Kaspian. 

Knowing no one will understand what happened, Kaspian keeps the experience mainly to himself. As a result, the confused boy receives further psychiatric treatment and counseling, then finds himself whisked away to a special school for hard-line teenage rebels. Here life becomes even more interesting as he experiences love, death, and discovers an underground anti-alien culture wants to learn more about him. Kaspian, as usual, doesn't know which way to turn.  

Book: Richard Grant, In the Land of WinterTo Kaspian's chagrin, far too many people want him to turn their way. Mrs Aaby (Kaspian's mother), Jasper C. Winot (an obsessed millionaire), Thera Boot (psychologist extraordinaire), and a few others besides, all want to control Kaspian's life -- a prospect Kaspian does not welcome. 

Passages both powerful and mundane characterize Richard Grant's writing. Confused and boring stretches where I kept asking myself, "What's happening?" or, "Why isn't anything happening now?" alternated with sections where I couldn't put the book down. On a couple of occasions I skipped a few pages to prevent myself from losing interest -- the main reason why Kaspian Lost received a two and a half crescent rating instead of a three. Still, the book started very well, posed a few puzzles, and threw out a load of paranoia and psychobabble about messed up lives. It provided just enough to give an interesting read. Richard Grant obviously grasps the psychologically esoteric. 

I wonder what his next book won't be about? 

Stephen Smith

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