Elizabeth Cuttner is no ordinary fourteen-year-old. She speaks with a candor that belies her age and possesses the perceptive nature of a fortuneteller. Perhaps it’s the result of having to grow up too fast. Her whiskey-soaked stockbroker father can’t pry his eyes off Elizabeth’s friend and her mother is too caught up insulting her father to care about Elizabeth. But for all Elizabeth’s intuition, even she can’t control the influence imposed on her by Frances, the mysterious woman in the mirror.
While on a trip with her parents to Lake George, New York, Elizabeth meets this spectral presence for the first time. It’s with a captured toad in hand and a darting look to her bedroom mirror that invokes the eerie apparition. As if she’s her guardian angel, Frances swears allegiance to Elizabeth, protecting her and having her best interest at heart. However, each look to the mirror comes with a high cost.
Whether by Elizabeth’s hand or another, she’s left an orphan and forced to move into her grandmother’s house where her uncle, James, also resides. He’s married, has a son, and shares the same salacious side of her father. And Elizabeth, despite her age and relation, is the target of his infatuation.
At the same time, Frances’s hold on Elizabeth gains strength, pulling her further from reality with each visit. But it may just be the kind of escape from this debauched life that Elizabeth requires. Or it could be a destiny pre-ordained by her heritage, bringing her closer to the truth interred among her ancestors.
At first glance, Elizabeth appears to hold all the trappings of 70s pulp horror with its sleezy characters and shaggy veneer. But it’s a novel of scrupulous nuance that resists horror’s clichés, cloaking itself in the darkest velour that horror has to offer. With lust, obsession, manipulation, and a young girl as its focus, this novel is sure to make you feel uneasy, if even a bit queasy. And by the time you’re done, you may just think twice before you look into another mirror again.
This edition of Elizabeth includes a new introduction by Grady Hendrix and cover, frontispiece, and spot artwork by Bo Myles.