Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A little resurrected horror

The other day, while we exploring a used bookstore in Wrigleyville, Steve pointed at a paperback horror novel by Douglas Clegg and said, in jest, "look, your favorite author." Not a bad assumption on his part, horror in general and mass market paperback horror in particular is not a genre rich in glories. Back in the 80s, I adored the paperback section of the grocery store and drug store. That was where you would find all kinds of treasures. Trashy treasures to be sure, but treasures nonetheless. Today nearly anything in mass market is suspect. A book published in trade paperback is an argument that the book before you is worth a try.

I had read some Douglas Clegg before and enjoyed it. One of his earliest novels, Neverland, was recently republished in trade paperback, so I naturally took notice. It is actually a good horror read. It centers on a family vacation to a run down Georgia island where people who can afford to go elsewhere have done so. The action centers around a pair of cousins, the parents of whom are usually too drunk or in battle to notice them. The kids explore a place called Neverland where one claims he has met a god.

The best parts of this horror book are the non-horror elements. Clegg has made some very believable children. Given their terrible home lives, it isn't a surprise that they turn to make believe to escape what they have to endure on a regular basis. The horror is good too, especially in the early parts when it is mostly glimpsed.

It goes to show you that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but you may as well republish in trade as people will keep on judging.

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