the possibility of any subtle blending ofnemotions, and leave the reader againnsickened and bored.nX he upshot, then, is that Cabell Hartnis alone in the world, but for his sisternCharley, who has moved to the NorthernnCalifornia town of Halcyon to beginnher. life anew with her illegitimate son,nwho suffers from a clubfoot, his sharenof the Hart family inheritance. Afterntraveling there and learning of her death,nCabell discovers a “cover-up” of the truencircumstances of it, which of coursenreminds him of Watergate. The localnpolice chief is one of the killers, whontries to put him away by tossing himninto the same wilderness river that consumednhis sister. He survives, and, afterna seance with his grandfather’s ghostnin the forest, returns to Halcyon,nslaughters two of the killers, rescuesnJoey from cruel foster parents and disappearsnin the bloody tussle with thenthird murderer. His revenge, and thennovel, are complete.nCollier is apparently trying to pandernto several audiences: those who seekntitiUation in tawdry sex and violence,nand those who want it justified by anpreachy, pseudocultural or pusillanimouslynintellectual message. A movie ofna few years ago. The Wild Bunch, didnlikewise, and received fulsome praise,nwhile the gratuitous gore flooded thensensibilities of its audience. Colliernheightens the pitch of prurience; hisnCabell Hart is at times a professor ofnShakespeare and a peace marcher, butnis in essence a hateful, piggish sensualist,nmoved by his instincts and no more.nYet he is somehow considered by thenauthor to be a character of intenseninterest for his nihilistic spasms ofnviolence.nIt is a great shame, made worse bynCollier’s gimmickry, which includes injectingnthe grandfather’s ghost as ancharacter in an otherwise coldly realisticnplot, and using a different typeface fornthe chapters in which the son, Joey, isna first person narrator. The novel opensnin such a manner casting the readernin medias res, arid then flashes tonCabell’s musings on the impending deathnof his father. Such false literary toolsnare shortcuts to drama, and are not usednby writers who can achieve it withnstraightforward narration and characterndevelopment.nJjut the worst of it is the phoninessnof it all. Today, when interest in familynheritages and family lineages is at anpeak, the author clutches for such antheme, albeit in the blackest sense, byndwelling tiresomely on the history andncultural roots of the Hart family.nNo doubt it will sell well, as all suchnbooks do, for it seems there is a fertilenmarket for printed trash disguised asn”magnetic” and “powerful.” Powerfulnit is, in its impact on the senses, annimpact that inures the senses to thendegradation of humanity. Not a singlenone of Collier’s characters embodiesnany humane emotion or idea; rather,nthey are grotesqueries, stiff, hollowncaricatures that remind the reader onlynof the violence, nihilism, and carnalitynof the lives of men and women whosenvalues are measured by the culturalnwinds of the late sixties and early seventies.nThe father’s visit to the Old Westnis supposed to evoke a sort of heartrendingnnostalgia for a time when suchnthings as home and family ties meantnsomething, but becomes instead anmockery of them. Collier is obsessednwith death, the death of the body andnthe spirit, and his book, brimming withnviolence, is elevated to the level ofn”mysticism” by the Book of the MonthnClub News.nThe mysticism of Downriver is Satanic,naffirming the depth and breadthnof hell, which may well be California innthe late nineteen seventies. But Holt,nRinehart & Winston did not look atnit that way. No doubt, they saw somethingnthat fit a niche in the marketplace,nfor readers who have just finishednSara Davidson’s Loose Change and BettynFord’s autobiography. The picturebooksnof the Peoples Temple in Guyananwill certainly be next.nBut one is forced to wonder: if thendeath of the soul has proven so popularnwith publishers, why has Solzhenitsynnsold so many copies? Certainly, there isnan impulse flickering in America, thatnflares up brightly and wholesomelynwhen the timelessness of the life of thenspirit, which Solzhenitsyn wrote about,nis reaffirmed. It’s to be hoped, fervently,nthat Peter Collier’s dark and bloodynwriting is only another choked spasmnof booksellers’ baser instincts; hopednthat it will someday go away. DnBooks in the MailnChristianity and the Survival of the West by Revilo P. Oliver; Howard Allen Enterprises;nCape Canaveral, Florida. A comment on the causes and effects of Christianity’sndecline in the West.nWhy Civilizations Self-Destruct by Elmer Pendell; Howard Allen Enterprises; CapenCanaveral, Florida. On the role of intelligence in the formation and destruction of civilizations.nExploding the Energy Shortage Myth by Eric N. Skousen and John B. Tenney; EnsignnPublishing Company; Provo, Utah. An examination of possible energy sources and the popularnnotion of an energy crisis.nThe Imperialist Revolutionaries: Trends in World Communism in the 1960s and 1970snby Hugh Seton-Watson; Hoover Institution Press; Stanford, California. On the statenof communism in the world today.nSouth Africa: War, Revolution, or Peace by L. H. Gann and Peter Duignan; HoovernInstitution Press; Stanford, California. A monograph on conditions in South Africa andntheir possible consequences.nTax Limitation, Inflation and the Role of Government by Milton Friedman; The FishernInstitute; Dallas, Texas. Reprints of several of Dr. Friedman’s talks and articles.nThe Revolutionary Mission of Modern Art: or Crud and Other Essays on Art by MargaretnE. Stucki; Birds’ Meadow Publishing Co., Inc.; Cape Canaveral, Florida. Onnthe implications of practices in contemporary art.nFreedom in the World: Political Rights and Civil Liberties 1978 hy Raymond D. Gastil;nFreedom House; New York, New York. A systematic evaluation of each country’s politicalnrights and civil liberties.nnnChronicles of Culturen