Mischief

Douglas Clegg, Author Cemetery Dance Publications $40 (260p) ISBN 978-1-58767-009-1
In a banner year that has already seen his supernatural horror opus You Come When I Call You in mass market plus his dark suspense thriller Purity (Forecasts, June 5), Clegg now tallies a contemporary occult mystery. Harrow, a prep school housed in a converted mansion in the upper Hudson River Valley, seems ""a solidly mediocre addition to the roster of private schools for boys."" But its disturbingly dissonant architecture and shadowy history--which includes a legacy of student suicides--suggest a singularly malign spirit. Its newest victim is teenager Jim Hook, who's abducted into the byzantine bowels of the school by a cloaked coven of students who call themselves the Cadaver Society. Desperate to be saved from shame, Jim consents to join them and endures ghoulish initiation rites that apprise him of the school's historical link to celebrity Satanists as well as stoke psychic trauma dating back to his childhood. Clegg introduces more characters and subplots than can be satisfyingly woven into this slim spooker--which is the second episode in a projected trilogy whose prequel, Nightmare House, is an e-serial evolving at the Harrow Haunting Web site (www. ehaunting.com). But despite the tale's lack of resolution, he draws eerily plausible parallels between the arcane rituals of academic institutions and esoteric occultists, and imbues Harrow with an atmosphere of menace thick enough to support further flights of dark fantasy. Given its Web connection and Clegg's growing reputation, the Harrow Haunting trilogy could be Clegg's most popular work yet. Simultaneous publication in mass market paperback by Leisure. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 359 pages - 978-0-8439-4766-3
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