Melanie's Older Works


The DeceiverWayne, PA: Leisure Books, 2003

The Devil, they say, is in the details. The small decisions we make every day. But for the Harkness family, this expression is all too literally true. For many years the members of this family have gotten seemingly helpful advice at key moments in their lives from a mysterious and very persuasive stranger.

He doesn't always look the same. But he's always around whenever some sort of decision needs to be made. And what he says makes so much sense. His influence on the Harkness family seems slight at first. But before anyone realizes it, the strange man is leading them down some very dangerous and terrifying roads indeed.

" of the most understated and subtle horror novels that I have ever read. In fact, it is much more a literary success than a genre exercise...." -- P.B. Strauss, Avon Grove Sun


WildingNew York: Dell, 1992

On a moonlit night in Denver a young girl runs--half transformed, half starving, half innocent. Behind her stretches a legacy of strong women, each possessed by the girl and the terror of the changing.

Four sisters lived in four houses. Now their female descendants, steeped in blood and sacrifice and rage, cling to their essence and their ancient rituals while Deborah, runaway, uninitiated, threatens their survival.

The family of hunters hunts her down--racing on all fours through the streets of the city and the canyons, gripped by their own quarrels and regrets and their desperate, essential love for one another. They are driven by the need to run, to hunt, driven by the insistent itching of the hair that lies hidden between the flesh and the skin.


RevenantNew York: Dell, 1994

London: Headline, 1994

What happens when you lose the one you love? To death, to mental illness, to physical disability? You grieve, but, if you can let them go, you find your own life again. If you hold on too long, they haunt you...

Hannalore hasn't lost touch with her two children. They still come home for birthdays, even though they've been dead for over a decade. Elinor has a new husband now, for Alzheimer's disease has destroyed the man she married and left a sad, old shell behind. And Bill longs for the return of the son who was a mirror image of himself and will not acknowledge the quadriplegic stranger that came back from the hospital.

They, and all the others who refuse to give their loved ones up, owe a debt to Mother Grief--and she calls to them from Revenant. Her call cannot be ignored; it is sent to the mourners through those they have lost.

"A heartfelt, cathartic tale...the most genuinely haunting I have read for a long time." -- Time Out


DesmodusNew York: Dell, 1995

London: Headline, 1995

My mother did not like men. Most women I knew didn't. Her attitude toward us was more contempt than hatred, more disappointment and disgust than dislike.

Joel Desmodus is a male vampire living in a community dominated by female vampires. Unlike the humans who live in the surrounding towns Joel's species is totally matriarchal--from the powerfully mysterious and frightening Old Women to Joel's own fourteen-year-old niece who, despite her youth, is seen to be better equipped to make decisions than he is.

Because of the excessive demands placed upon them all, the women need the winter season to hibernate, leaving the men to indulge in orgies and any other hedonistic activities denied them during the rest of the year. And this particular winter Joel is given the unnatural task of managing his younger sister's weird family while she is asleep.

When he inadvertently stumbles on a horrific secret which has remained hidden for generations--a secret which, if revealed, would threaten the very structure of the vampire society--Joel is forced to kidnap his niece's newborn baby boy, and in doing so face his own complicity in the fearsome legacy of his people.

"Desmodus provides a perversely unique spin on the traditional vampire novel." -- Nancy Collins


The TidesRebecca Emig, the twenty-eight-year old administrator of The Tides nursing home, is way out of her depth, both professionally and personally. Rapidly deteriorating with Alzheimer's disease, her father, resident of the Tides, begins to call her by another name--'Faye'--a name which she does not recognize, but which provokes a violent reaction in her mother. As Rebecca delves into her father's past she learns that he was once married to a disturbed and dangerous woman who he now believes, even in his lucid moments, has returned.

Increasingly haunted by questions about this woman, Rebecca must also cope with a sequence of strange, sinister and fatal incidents, for which her father claims Faye is responsible. Desperate to stop these events spiraling out of control, yet sensing that an insidious force is possessing many of the already compromised personalities in her care, Rebecca finds that she, herself, is becoming more and more uncertain of where she came from and of who she really is.


Black RiverHeadline UK, 2003 (Has never been published in the US)

For Renata Burgess--wife, mother, social worker and writer--Friday, March 18, 1988 is just the start of a busy weekend. Her daughter's going to a birthday party sleepover. Her elder son will be over for Sunday dinner, her nine-year-old boy clamouring to have a friend over. Just a normal Friday. Until 8:20 pm--when one of her children is found dead.

Wrenched by shock and grief into currents of reality of which she's never previously been aware, Renata struggles to come to terms with her loss. As she learns to live day to day and moment to moment with the pain, she embarks on an eerie journey through an underworld inhabited by monstrous and seductive creatures that threaten both her sanity and her physical survival. She travels not only downwards but also backwards in time. Finding herself thrown into the lives of other mothers at the moment of their bereavement, Renata takes her first step towards healing--recognizing the fact that she is simply part of an infinite process...

A hardcover bestseller in South Africa.

Painfully raw, yet ultimately hopeful, this novel about the horror of loss and the amazing resilience of the human spirit confirms Melanie Tem as a "major talent at work." Locus

One of the most resonant, moving novels of recent years, this is a near-masterpiece. Darlington Northern Echo

The power of her...writing is...extraordinary. You can't stand back from this torrent of emotion; you're swept along with it into the darkness. It's fascinating, overwhelming, compelling...Melanie Tem is one hell of a writer. SFX

Melanie's Collaborations With Nancy Holder:


Making LoveDell Books 1994, Robinson (UK) 1995

On the night of her fortieth birthday, Charlotte Tobias created her perfect lover. But soon he was everything that she would come to dread as she slid into a voyage through anger and madness and loss, towards the truths that lie just beyond consciousness.









WitchlightDell Books, 1996

Twenty-year-old Valerie Kittridge is horrified to learn that her father has had a stroke. As an only child and with her mother dead, her father is all she has in the world, and she leaves her life as a film student in California to nurse her father back to health. On her wild, late-night car ride to Duerme, the small town in New Mexico where her father lives with his girlfriend, she is besieged with a host of strange and terrifying dark omens and flashbacks to her childhood. For there is something waiting for Valerie at Duerme, not just her stricken father, but an irresistable stranger who had saved her life many years ago--the man of her dreams.

In Witch-Light, Nancy Holder and Melanie Tem collaborate on the second of their fascinating demon-lover stories. The first one, Making Love, was a sensual variation on the Frankenstein theme. Witch-Light is the mesmerizing story of a dark, mysterious, devastatingly handsome man named Gabriel, a bruja, or male witch, who draws Valerie into a twisted romance that will take her to the very edge of love and obsession.

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