By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated March 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

One hot summer in the 1970s, demons possessed the women of Dry Falls, Maine. That’s the story Cora Whitman, wife of the local minister, is telling in Ann Arensberg’s Incubus. Cora’s is a detached, analytical voice, and she reviews the weird events of that long-ago season as a scientist might review a protocol. But her precision wanes as the evil gathers, resulting in a climax worthy of Night of the Living Dead, complete with armies of inhuman invaders and a church-held exorcism. Indeed, this novel resembles nothing so much as one of those old horror movies, couched in literary pretensions. It’s carefully constructed and sometimes original, but frankly, the movies were more fun. B-