Neverland by Douglas Clegg
Synopsis from publisher:
For as long as he can remember, Beau and his family have summered on Gull Island, visiting with his Grandma Weenie and his mother's sister's family. They're there to find some peace away from the city, but there is no peace on this island, and not only because the families are at constant odds. There's something dark and evil that exits here, and thanks to Beau's creepy cousin, Sumter, it's about to come out and play.
Sumter discovers an old shed on the grounds and claims it as their clubhouse. He calls it Neverland, and he and Beau spend most of their time there. But strange things happen within Neverland's walls, including dead things, even people, coming back to life.... It's all thanks to a presence called Lucy, a demon who demands the boys make sacrifices of small animals to her. So, as the adults spend their time drinking and arguing, the kids, including Beau's twin sisters Missy and Nonie, start sneaking out at the dead of night to visit Neverland. There's something intoxicating about what goes on inside Neverland, and the kids will do anything to keep experiencing Lucy's magic. But when Lucy tells Sumter she wants a bigger sacrifice, a human sacrifice, just how far will he go to keep Lucy happy?My thoughts:
I discovered Douglas Clegg last year when I picked up an impulse copy of Isis from the library, and fell in love with it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that even though I don't generally cite horror novels as something I seek out, I was definitely looking forward to reading his next book.
If Isis is a fable - almost a cautionary tale - Neverland is it's darker, more malevolent big brother. Everything I enjoyed about Clegg's writing is more and bigger here - the creepy atmosphere, the undertones of unidentifiable but very real danger, the slightly disturbing but perfectly placed black and white illustrations. Everything is staged perfectly to slowly but surely drag the reader so far into the story that by the time you realize you probably don't want to know what is going to happen, it's far too late.
Clegg's genius in both books is his ability to use a child's point of view with such precision. He perfectly nails the innocence with just a touch of cruelty that feels so realistic - his focus is on Beau and Sumter, and because we only see the peripheral characters from Beau's perspective, they tend to be just a bit out of focus, which seems fitting for the story Clegg wants to tell.
I have to admit this author has won me over. I still don't know that I would call myself a fan of the genre, but I will definitely be reading as many of his books as I can get my hands on.
Also, I'm a bit ambivalent about book trailers, but this one is pretty darn good...
Source: review copy from publicist
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence, language, and other scary stuff
My rating: 8/10