I've read this book a number of times, having found that food and horror go well together. The plotline is frankly ludicrous, but despite this it is a well-told story, fast paced and with characters which, whilst not on a par with Dickens, are fairly well-drawn and not too wooden. The atmosphere is quite rich, and evoked effectively throughout.
Restaurant inspector Charlie McLean is trying to rebuild his relationship with his estranged fifteen-year-old son Martin on one of his inspection itineraries in rural Connecticut. During the trip, however, he becomes aware of a mysterious dining society known as Le Reposoir, and on making numerous enquiries, finds himself frustrated at every turn. Charlie's trip turns nightmarish however, when Martin suddenly disappears. Charlie discovers that Le Reposoir is actually the seat of a strange religious sect called the Celestines, who believe in attaining spiritual enlightenment by self-ingestion. Worse, he finds that Martin has joined this sect as one of its devotees.
The Celestines plan to use Martin as a willing sacrifice in a ritual which they believe will result in the second coming of Christ, but which Charlie discovers is actually intended to raise voodoo demon Baron Samedi. Aided by a plucky woman reporter and a parent whose child was converted by the Celestines, Charlie abandons his job and travels across America, determined to win Martin back from their clutches.
There are passages of rich atmosphere, but the descriptions of self-mutilation are so bizarre as to verge on the comic. Also, the love interest in the book is never fully developed, remaining more or less platonic throughout. This is a lightweight novel, but entertaining enough if you don't expect too much from it. There is a dramatic climax when Baron Samedi is released to wreak havoc on his followers, and occasional passages of conspiracy and intrigue which add to the mix. Not quite a gourmet dish, but tasty all the same.