This is the best book I've read in the contemporary Horror genre. I've been buying Straub's later books in hopes that he can repeat the performance he carried off in this one and have been dissapointed with the results (Shadowland was a fun read, however). Actually, in terms of sheer good writing, I would have to rank one of his earliest novels, Julia, as the most comparable. This book really got under my skin and even pervaded my unconscious while I was reading it. I found myself dreaming in Straub's cadences. This is a tour-de-force horror story, and yes, does rival James' The Turn of the Screw in terms of aritistry. Hopefully, sometime Straub will turn out another one of this calibre.