Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Douglas Clegg's Horror Novels So Good I Won't Be Reading Them...

Cover of "Nightmare House"
Cover of Nightmare House
I love this original cover for this book! It certainly better defines the story--and what a story!

Stet Fortuna Domus.
It was the carving above the keystone of the house: May the House’s Fortune Stand. 
The old man stole that phrase from another Harrow, but it fit this place. At least it fit his wishes for his Harrow. 
A telling moment: when I was six years old and on one of my infrequent but wonderful stays at my grandfather’s estate, he told me that there were three things to watch for in the world. While I could not—ten minutes later—remember a single one, what I remember now is the warmth of his hand, the musty smell of the ill-fitting suit that must’ve lived most of the year within a mothballed closet, and the way he could not stop looking at me as if I were the most important child in the world even with my lies and games and pouts and stolen gingerbread men from the kitchen. 
It was the only time I felt this in my childhood. I never forgot that moment. Even now, I can’t judge him beyond knowing that my grandfather loved me and wanted all of this for me. 
It was the house—and what it held. 
I would never call a work of architecture evil; nor would I suggest that a house could be anything but a benign presence. It is always the human element that corrodes the stones and the wood and the brick and the foundation. It is the human heart that bends the floors and burns the rooms and imbues the structure with the spirit of error and false remembrance. 

Nightmare House 

Book 1 of The Harrow 
 Haunting Series
By Douglas Clegg

Readers, you will probably never read another review like this one... I just finished Book 1 in a series from prolific author Douglas Clegg. It will be the first and last novel I read by an excellent Horror writer... I used to enjoy that genre when I was young. Now, I can recognize that his work rivals Stephen King's, who I also no longer read...LOL In fact, check out the excerpt above, his writing is quite wonderfully sinister, isn't it?

Clegg's older books came out on Kindle and that's how I was enticed...I always love the titles and succumb to temptation. But now I know--Clegg writes too well; his work is too realistic, too memorable...However, if you are still an avid horror fan, I will quickly highly recommend this series and his other books. Yes, I can tell by just one book that others will be just as good or better. In fact, I'd like to know what happens in this series--but I don't want to actually read them to find out! I know that makes sense, right?!

“Look!” Alf cried out, his voice echoing in
 the chamber, while he stumbled into a dark corner
of the turret room. “Over here, I found something!
 Something big!”
 And that’s when they found the remains of a
 human body in a recessed corner of the room.
 Finding a body came with its own set of problems—
particularly a corpse that had been rotting
 for several years by the look of it
(so saith Maggie, not showing on her face half
the horror that Ethan felt must have been on his).
 Maggie pulled Alf back, completely against his will,
 practically lifting him by the elbows.
 Ethan convinced Maggie—who then went
 to look at the corpse with better lamplight—
that they should all just go downstairs and telephone
 for the police like sane people. 

Alf proclaimed his hunger halfway down
 the banister to the first floor; Maggie made
 some grumblings about a woman’s work
 never being done; Ethan volunteered to make
sandwiches but Maggie pushed him away,
told him to
“make your blasted call to the coppers,”
and so, another remarkable evening in
Harrow began.

I've always loved Gothic and this book reeks of it! Nightmare House is not the corny ghost story, although there are ghosts--untold numbers of ghosts!

And the house is more castle and has secret rooms,  above and below the main house...Normally such fun for me!

But this house really is evil...

I'm not sure that the total reason has come out in this first in series, but this is what I know. The entire structure was brought stone by stone from somewhere overseas...

There were also stolen artifacts brought to create an area as close to Egyptian tombs as possible...

In addition, the man who built the structure brought in psychics, mediums and other evil people such as Lizzie Borden, to have seances and who knows what other evil things...

Ethan had just inherited everything from his grandfather and had immediately come to Harrow House. He remembered happy times and warm love from him when he had visited in his younger years, even though his father and mother had been estranged from his grandfather. In fact, Ethan, himself, had never gotten along with his father, so wasn't surprised that Harrow House had come to him.

Only two servants were still there when Ethan came. Wentworth was the housekeeper and it appeared that she had expected some part of the inheritance but was congenial for the most part. Maggie--he had seen her first on the property and instantly knew that he loved her...

And it was with Maggie and her son Alfred that they first visited the Turret Room. Ethan had noticed that the window he had once enjoyed seeing his Grandfather from, was now bricked over. When Maggie didn't have the key, she showed him how to open the door with a ladies' hat pin!

But when the inner door was also locked and boarded, he had to get a pickax .. Once that was broken through, there was now a wall of bricks! They also broke through that!

Alf was the one that saw something in a far corner, that turned out to be a body...Maggie examined the clothes, etc., and proclaimed that she was a fairly young woman...

Shall we just say that, at that point, all hell broke loose!?!

The suspense of what they find, the description of being invaded, been possessed, was tantalizingly creepy! Fortunately, I was reading during the day because this was the type of story when, just at the truly terrifying parts, written so simplistically and straight-forward, that you do not want to try to sleep immediately afterward!

Who is the woman? Why was she locked away? We do learn that her name is Matilde...

And Matilde now IS Harrow House... Come visit if you dare, but don't expect to leave alive... unless you are escorted immediately asylum...

Best horror novel I've read in a very long time... If you happen to have read the series, let me know what happens at the save my curiosity that is no longer working when true horror comes into the picture! LOL Enjoyment for those brave enough...


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Here's my current bio:
When Douglas Clegg was ten years old, he stood on the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico and vowed he would be a writer and travel the world. At sixteen, he stood within the arched doorways of the Alhambra in Spain after reading Lorca; at 21, he got lost in London, generally in the vicinity of Piccadilly Circus, living out every frame of Hogarth's The Rake's Progress in a condensed span of time; at the age of 23 he strayed along the boulevards of Paris with a yellow pad scribbling out a terrible novel that he destroyed soon after; but it wasn't until he was 27 -- in a lilliputian apartment in Hollywood, California -- that he sat down to write his first novel with any degree of conviction.
Clegg is the award-winning author of Neverland and Isis, among many other novels. He lives with his husband of more than 23 years in a house called Villa Diodati. Included in and around that household is a menagerie of animals, including cat, dog, mouse, rabbit and possibly more than 35 goldfish. He has written many books and more short stories. Recently, he wrote a new introduction for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the Signet Classics edition. He invites readers to subscribe to his email newsletter at to keep up-to-date with his current and upcoming books in both print and ebook.

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  1. Definitely a different review! I must admit, I still enjoy Stephen King, so I think I'd like this.

  2. Sheila, Yes it is a good book and you'd're much younger than me! LOL

    I'm reading one now that leaves me surely makes a difference, doesn't it!