Douglas Clegg, Author . Leisure $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8439-4927-8

The indefatigable Clegg concludes his trilogy of terror tales (after the e-serial Nightmare House and sequel Mischief) set at the haunted Harrow boarding school with a novel that once again shows his skill at using classic horror themes to explore the pathos of the human condition. Evoking works by Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson, to which it will almost certainly be compared, the story builds around the formally engineered meeting of Chet Dillinger, Cali Nytbird and Frost Crane, all of whom are endowed with psychic proclivities that have been more curse than gift in their lives. Like Ivy Martin, wealthy patroness of the PSI Vista Foundation that has hired them to investigate a recent spate of eerie deaths linked to the academy, each is a spiritually scarred survivor who hopes their experiment will exorcise personal demons as well as the school's. Too late, they discover that Harrow's reputation as a charnel house stems from occult influences well-schooled in exploiting the vulnerabilities of unwitting human victims. The plot builds sluggishly, with affecting if lengthy profiles of the principal characters and a paucity of supernatural incidents once they descend on Harrow. But Clegg knows how to balance horror with human interest, and when all hell breaks loose in an electrifying finale, the narrative's supernatural and psychological landscapes carefully converge in a cavalcade of nightmares. Memorable for its evocative, disturbing imagery and haunting emotional insights, this novel adds a new chapter to horror's tradition of haunted house fiction. (Sept. 18)

Reviewed on: 08/27/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 377 pages - 978-0-8439-5055-7
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