Dark of the Eye, by Douglas Clegg

dark-of-the-eye-by-douglas-clegg coverGenre: Horror
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Digital
Published: 2002
Reviewer Rating: three and a half stars
Book Review by William D. Gagliani

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Doug Clegg (GOAT DANCE, NAOMI, YOU COME WHEN I CALL YOU, THE INFINITE) turns in a sizzling performance in this thoroughly engaging cross-genre thriller. Shocking, horrifying, and twisted in just the right way, DARK OF THE EYE grabs you with its very first sentence: “He had never killed a child before.”

From this chilling beginning, Clegg maneuvers a wildly disparate set of characters into and around a well-constructed plot that skillfully weaves threads of religion with those of truly weird science, exploring along the way the cruelty of man so often disguised as love.

Hope Stewart, eleven, has just lost an eye in a car accident. Now she can cure people’s illnesses — or subject them to excruciating pain which kills their souls but inexplicably leaves their twitching, tortured bodies alive.

Kate Stewart kidnaps her daughter from the hospital to protect her from the clutches of Dr. Robert Stewart, whom she suspects of experimenting on their daughter. Kate and Hope’s cross-country flight leads them to Empire, CA, where a horrifying destiny awaits. Meanwhile, government assassin Stephen Grace, himself a wonderfully dark creation, hunts the child, whose powers are only now awakening.

A mysterious, creepy ending in a town you most certainly do not want to visit brings this tour-de-force to an appropriately apocalyptic close. This is gonzo horror of the first magnitude, not for the squeamish or for those who must look away — but Doug Clegg pulls it off in fine manner, directing your eyes to the darkness in a man’s heart with unfailing instinct and consummate skill.

This winner of a novel is a worthy bookend to THE HALLOWEEN MAN in both theme and style, chronicling Doug Clegg’s development into what he is today — one of our very best writers of disturbing fiction. DARK OF THE EYE is worth seeking out, no matter what.

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