Neverland

By Douglas Clegg
Vanguard Press
ISBN: 978-1-59315-541-4
April 2010; $15.95

Douglas Clegg is one of only a few dark fantasy writers who can make a huge splash with a re-release. He’s just that good. Book after book, he consistently shows an unmatched ability to write creepy, suspenseful, and wickedly humorous thrillers. Vanguard Press’s re-release of Neverland, originally published in 1991, is no exception. In this coming of age story, Clegg draws you in from the get-go with great child characters who act, think, and speak in ways you would expect from a child.

Every summer Beau Douglas – a young boy on the verge of adolescence – and his family vacation at his Grammy Weenie’s ancestral home on Gull Island, Georgia, a place where the locals (Gullahs) spread dark tales of mass murder and ghosts. Soon after arriving on the island, Beau follows his cousin Sumter into an old shack they are forbidden by their parents to enter. Immediately after Beau and his twin sisters begin hanging out in the shack which they call Neverland, they become infatuated with the dark creature Sumter keeps in a crate and claims is a god named Lucy. In the shadows of Neverland, the children begin bringing their childhood dreams, both good and bad, to life with the help of Lucy. With Sumter as the ringleader, they go on a macabre journey through rebellion and worship and sacrifice that eventually turns the entire island into a place of relentless nightmares.

Clegg brings Beau and the other characters to life in Neverland with short, breezy prose that makes this book very hard to put down. Clegg is truly a master of imagination and fantasy. “Neverland” is one of the spookiest, most unpredictable adolescent tales that I’ve read in a long while. And it’s believable. That’s what makes it so frightening. If you’ve read it before, I say do so again. If, like me, you missed the first printing, you need to get a copy of this one.

– Reviewed by Jeremy Hepler

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~ by darkdiscoveries on April 13, 2010.

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