You come when I call you is an ambitious horror novel. Instead of rehashing the well-beaten path of formulaic horror, it tries something new. I once read in an issue of Fangoria that Clegg struggled mightily writing this novel and actually took upwards of ten years to finish this book. Sadly, instead of delivering its promise, the novel falls flat on its face.
The story flip flops between two time frames. THEN takes place in 1980 in the sleepy desert town of Palmetto, California. We get to meet several teenage characters whose routine lifestyles are turned upside down when a demonic force takes over them and makes them perform brutal acts of murderous rage. NOW is set in 2000 and the teenagers are now grown adults living in different cities across the country and doing their best to forget the horrible memories of their past. But now the demon of their past is "calling" them and they will reunite in Palmetto in an attempt to put the demon that haunts them to rest once and for all.
This is not an easy book to read. So much of the events take place through dreams, memories, hallucinations and flashbacks. After a while it becomes hard to decipher what's real from what's not as well as if something's occuring now or if it happenned in the past.
The main secret behind this book seems to be of what ritual the kids performed that was so terrifying and that ended up scarring them emotionally. However, as I read deeper into the novel I found that I really didn't care anymore. Most of them have become dislikeable burnouts and schizophrenics that are difficult to sympathize with. The most thrilling part of the book was actually reading about two elderly ladies sitting on rocking chairs on their porch and recounting events of 40 years ago. How sad.
One major positive is that the ending is strong. But the last 50 pages still don't make up for the mud that were the first 350. After reading this exhaustive and confusing novel, I'm hesitating reading anything else by this author. Too bad because I liked its concept. Maybe I should try reading King's "IT" instead.