(1926-1991) US actor and author, who turned to writing with The Other (1971), a bestseller which he adapted for the screen the following year. A "bad seed" tale, it presents a complex and nuanced portrait of a young boy so psychologically traumatized by the death of his Twin brother that he imagines him still alive (> Invisible Companion) and responsible for the increasingly evil acts of mischief the surviving twin perpetrates. Harvest Home (1973) is equally ambiguous in its approach to fantasy, evoking a mood of supernatural menace through its portrait of a rural New England town where pagan practices have survived into the present. Both novels are justly praised for their skilful narrative misdirection, which permits a variety of fantastic and nonfantastic interpretations of events until their revelatory climaxes.
Just when he seemed poised to be recognized as the pre-eminent contemporary literary horror novelist, TT shifted focus. His only other Weird Fiction, the posthumous Night Magic (1995), is set in the world of stage magic and concerns an illusionist whose skill at prestidigitation is based in Egyptian mysticism. The novel's overtly fantastic elements are uncharacteristic of TT's work in general, and may show the hand of Valerie Martin and John Cullen, who contributed to its final revision. [SD]
other works: Lady (1974); Crowned Heads (coll 1976); All That Glitters (coll 1986); The Night of the Moonbow (1988); Opal and Cupid (1990), a juvenile; The Wings of Morning (1990).