Dark of the Eye Hardcover – Sep 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In this deluxe reprint of a novel first published in 1994, Stoke Award winner Clegg (Naomi; The Nightmare Chronicles; etc.) piles horror upon horror, but nothing is really objectionable or repulsive because the story's not in the least bit believable. Hope Stewart, a child who unknowingly bears a mysterious, double-edged gift, can either heal or destroy. When Stephen Grace, the sinister "Shadow," kidnaps Hope, his orders are to remove one of her eyes, then kill her. Shadow achieves his first aim, but a timely automobile accident lands both of them in the hospital before he can carry out his second. The pace picks up after Hope's divorced mother kidnaps her from the hospital and flees to Empire, a small and allegedly typical California town, the home of an old boyfriend. Shadow and the seemingly affable Matt, more often acting as "Monkey," one of Matt's multiple, all-mad personalities who believe "imperfection should be hacked off," pursue Hope to California. The parade of grotesques includes a geek who thinks he's a werewolf, raids chicken coops and bites off chicken heads; a mysterious underground cult called Cthonos, which has murdered scores of children; and a maniacal and disfigured nine-year-old boy who figures in a catalogue of awful events that have plagued Empire. Luckily for her, Hope belatedly realizes that she has "power!" There's a surprise a page, and while devotees will relish this omnibus of unexpected horrors, others may find it too mechanical and parodic.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I found Children's Hour and Bad Karma, (this last under a psuedonym) but the other titles were out of stock. Hey Dell Publishing, Doug Clegg or who ever is out there who might know-where can I find the other paperbacks, because this is a great author-the kind who delivers taut, original horror of an intelligent sort.
In the interest of keeping up with news about Clegg, I signed up for his email newsletter and found that Dark of the Eye was being serialized within its pages. Not the most ideal circumstances in which to read a novel, I'll admit -- I'm one of the old-fashioned type that still likes to turn pages -- but it is also an idea whose time has come. It's merely an updating of the old Dickensian model of magazine serialization -- and he was, by most accounts, a rousing success. Even now, authors are catching on to the concept that the best way to promote their work is by giving something away for free. It keeps us coming back and, therefore, keeps their names fresh in our minds for when we go book shopping.
Dark of the Eye, first published in 1994, is now out of print but still available from online booksellers. Still, it's fairly rare, which makes it the perfect candidate for this sort of promotion; it is a really good book that isn't easily available anywhere else. It almost makes it seem like a sort of discovery!
In it, we're dropped right in the middle of an ongoing story as a one-eyed girl named Hope Stewart gains an awesome healing power that some people -- like her father, the mysterious Dr. Robert Stewart -- want to preserve, while others -- like Special Projects' Stephen Grace (aka "Shadow"), a government assassin -- want to destroy. Hope's mother, Kate, however, doesn't trust Robert and runs away with Hope, straight into the middle of Empire, California, a former boomtown that now seems only to serve as the residence for a motley crew of supporting characters -- including the strange "family" that goes by the name of Cthonos.
A relatively early novel in the Clegg bibliography, Dark of the Eye does not exhibit signs of the author's later confidence in his abilities, but does showcase his seemingly intuitive knowledge of when something works. The beginning is a little confusing because while we're trying to learn about the characters, they're taking off somewhere else. It's like a chase trying to get to know them. After the fast-paced exposition, the story takes time getting to where it's going though the pace never lets up. Once the climax is set in motion, however, the surprises come fast and furious as the novel barrels to its conclusion. (I carried the printed pages with me so as not to miss a opportunity to read it.) It ends somewhat abruptly, but is suspenseful and engrossing the entire time. The characters are absolutely fascinating and Clegg fills this book with enough idiosyncracies to fill a series of novels and a circus freak show.
Based on the evidence of Dark of the Eye in addition to The Nightmare Chronicles, Douglas Clegg is now on my Favorite Authors list.