By: Douglas Clegg

When I received this book for review, I felt that it was going to be a bad read.  As you’ve likely noticed if you’ve read any of my reviews, I normally read Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Neverland is neither of those.  When I read a few of the blurbs on the book, however, and there were a couple that compared the book to early Stephen King, I changed my mind.  I’ve read nearly every Stephen King there is, and enjoyed most of them.  Especially his early works.

Neverland puts us deep into the south, with cousins Beau and Sumter, and their families on vacation at their Grammy’s house on Gull Island.  Shady things begin happening in an old tool shed in the woods and Beau finds himself deep in the brewing supernatural storm.

The book is written in the first person from the perspective of Beau.  Some have problems writing in the first, but Clegg certainly pulls it off here.  There were a few places where the thoughts of the ten year old Beau seemed a bit mature.  But, I don’t really remember 10 all that well, so couldn’t say for sure that they really were all that mature.

The story and plot are good, but not great.  There are several places where I felt it dragged along, and it fell apart for me a bit at the end.  Without giving too much away, the ending seemed almost anti-climactic and left me wondering a bit if it was truly over or not.  Despite those small holes, the book pulled me along with it.  And that’s what makes a good book, good.

As I got to the last 100 pages or so of the book, I began getting that urge each time I tried to put it down, to keep on going.  And a book that pulls you in, and keeps you reading, is a good book.  The writing does remind me a bit of the earlier works of Stephen King.  I don’t think it’s nearly as powerful, but the style is very close.  In short, if you have any taste for works like IT or Pet Sematary, you’ll want to add this book to your list.  It’s worth the read.

If  you want a bit of a taste, you can read the first few pages of Neverland at Clegg’s website, Or, you can go and buy Neverland at Amazon.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.  I’ve tried my best to not let that influence my judgment.

This Just In: Neverland

I just got in a copy of Douglas Clegg’s NEVERLAND for review.  From the promo blurb I received:

Douglas Clegg, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Bram Stoker Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and the Shocker Award, returns this April with NEVERLAND (A Vanguard Press trade paperback original; on-sale: April 13, 2010; $15.95), a southern gothic tale of family secrets and childhood games gone awry.

Advance buzz is already building around NEVERLAND, with authors such as Bentley Little comparing it to the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird “as a classic modern novel that illuminates the human condition through the eyes of a child,” and New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson hailing NEVERLAND as “a powerful and thrilling tale, Douglas Clegg’s best novel yet.”

Clegg, drawing on some of the events from his own life and a long-ago visit to an island much like Gull Island, brings us the story of a family vacation gone terribly wrong, a novel about the lies adults tell and the destruction they wreak on the innocents around them.

Says Clegg of writing NEVERLAND: “This novel, my favorite of anything I’ve written, is about absolute innocence embracing the wildness—and darkness—of the imagination. I was able to explore the destructive nature of family secrets, and how children sometimes create rituals of power as an escape from the world their parents have made.”

But imaginative games are not always innocent . . . and when Beau travels to the Retreat, his grandmother’s forbidding home on Gull Island off the Georgia coast line, resigned to a boring family vacation, he finds that his cousin, Sumter, has other plans.

Sumter has found a run-down shack hidden in the woods, a place “where you ain’t supposed to go,” a place forbidden to them that smells of socks, dead sea creatures—and dread; Sumter christens it Neverland.

Fascinated and terrified by Neverland but thrilled to have made a secret life for themselves in a shack full of old Playboys, smuggled beers, and forbidden words, Sumter and his cousins create a hallucinatory world of dark fantasy, a world ruled by a god of shadows, who Sumter calls “Lucy.”

But the shack is the key to a terrible secret, and the world the children create away from their parents, bound to each other by blood oaths, is anything but innocent. As tensions build at the Retreat and the adults start on their gin and tonics earlier each day, Sumter’s games begin to invoke a nightmarish presence that cannot be contained within the bounds of imagination any longer . . .

Featuring stunning interior illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, illustrator of Stephen King’s Secretary of Dreams, NEVERLAND brings to mind author greats such as Ray Bradbury, Thomas Tryon, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams as Clegg explores the darkness of man’s soul while giving us surprising glimpses into the complexities of the human heart . . .

Sounds like an alright concept.  I’ve only made it about 20 or so pages in as I’m currently working on reading another review book.  The other is a non-fiction which always seem to take me a bit longer to get through.  You can see the Trailer for NEVERLAND here: NEVERLAND Trailer, and they’ve created a Difference Game out of some of the graphics of it.  Also, if you visit Douglas Clegg’s official website, and sign up for his newsletter, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a new Kindle or Nook.  While you’re there, tell me that his official author picture doesn’t make him look a little bit like Dave Matthews.  Seriously.

Keep you eyes peeled here for the review of NEVERLAND which should be upcoming in the next two weeks.  The book came out today, so if it sounds good to you, you don’t have to wait, you can buy it today.