Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Neverland by Douglas Clegg
Last October Luke Reviews took a look at Douglas Clegg’s novella Isis, which turned out to be a wonderful piece of fiction and a welcome introduction to an author I had never had the opportunity to read before. So when I got Clegg’s upcoming novel in the mail, I couldn’t wait to dive right in.
Beau’s family travels every year to Gull Island, Georgia, for a vacation and to meet up with the extended family. While Beau doesn’t care about the rest of the family, his cousin Sumter is, if not a friend, an entertaining companion. And when Beau follows Sumter into the rundown shack on their grandmother’s property, he enters a world of dark forces and the supernatural, and a power within themselves that could wreak havoc on the whole world.
Clegg’s novel is very much in the southern gothic mode, with a very moody prose that fills every page. He captures the heat, along with the mood of the south. His character interactions are spot on as well, with complex people interacting in just the right way. While this occasionally led me to become a little frustrated with the incessant arguing and non-supernatural meanness and animosity between the adults, it certainly gave a solid reason for the kids to isolate themselves and enter Neverland.
The slow build up, while a little overlong at times to me, was for the most part very well handled. It made the moments of actual supernatural evil all the more powerful. Clegg shows in this novel that he has the ability to leave you with that heavy feeling in your gut of fear. Once the climax is reached, the book hits its full stride, and things come together in a way that is wonderful.
At times I wondered if this story would have worked better at the novella length, cutting out a lot of unnecessary arguing between adults that didn’t do much for the story. The book had the occasional habit of just being too cluttered with things that, while helping with the mood, didn’t add to the plot. Yet, all things considered, this was a good novel that isn’t a bad read, especially for fans of dark southern gothic literature, or a more literary take on the modern horror novel.
NOTE: For those of you interested in the book, or who read it and loved it, I thought I would pass this along to you, from Elena Stokes: “If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, it is fantastic! You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/douglasclegg and please feel free to point your readers to Doug’s website to join the special Neverland contest and for the chance at the Grand Prize of either a Kindle or a Nook at http://www.douglasclegg.com/ A game based on the novel has also just launched at http://www.differencegames.com/index.php?cmd=viewgame&gameid=68”