The Attraction Hardcover – Mar 2004
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When the creature is accidentally fed it becomes animated and begins to fulfil its purpose of taking the skin off the living. It is fast, brutal, and intelligent. Is there any way to stop it? The dwindling cast must find an answer and find it quickly. Things move quickly all the way to an acceptable and believable ending. A very good read.
Also in this volume is a short novella of Clegg's Harrow stories called The Necromancer. This tale tells the story of the very beginning of Mr. Gravesend and how he first becomes familiar with the occult and its mysteries. As part of a larger story it is quite good. As a stand alone tale it is a little dry and slow at the beginning. But if you have read any of the Harrow novels, you will surely want to read this one.
It is called the Breakdown Palace and it is the very place where the "Mystery" is kept. They decide to go have a look and see what it is all about. Located in the back of the store in a glass case with a sign above it saying "Do not feed" is a small, mummified corpse with long, sharp fingernails. It is called a Flesh-Scraper. The ancient Aztecs used it to scrap the flesh off the bones of sacrifices. One of the friends thinking it is all a stupid hoax decides to steal it, but when they have another breakdown in the desert they soon realize that Flesh-Scraper is a lot more than just a road side attraction hoax. They have awaken an Ancient Evil with one thing on its mind. "Human Flesh"
I had never read any of Clegg's work before so I wasn't sure what to expect when I started. I am kicking myself now for not giving his stories a chance sooner. I couldn't put this book down. It grabbed me on the first page and wouldn't let go. I ended up reading most of the night away. I had a stiff neck and only got a few hours sleep, but it was worth it. The Attraction has a original plot and very believable characters. The story moves at a incredible rate and never lags. The only complaint I have is that it was a little short. I thought it could have been at least a lot longer than 175 pages, but that aside The Attraction is worth every cent.
There is also a Novella called The Nercomancer in this book. It is a prequel to the Harrow House novels and it is mainly drawn from the diaries of a young Justin Gravesend. Fans of the Harrow House books will love this story. I have got to read the Harrow House trilogy now.
To sum up The Attraction is one of the best stories I've read this year. I got a whole lot more than I expected, and I am now a Clegg fan.
"Please Do Not Touch Glass. We at the Brakedown Palace have nicknamed this special ancient mummy, Scratch, and he has been good luck to us all these years. We must warn any who view it that there is a legend that once Scratch gets fresh human skin under its fingernails and the taste of blood, he'll come back from oblivion to reap the human harvest. Do Not Touch. Do Not Feed."
While a sign that reads the above would be slightly ominous yet silly, if you were watching a movie about a bunch of college-aged kids standing in-front of this mummy then you'd be screaming 'Don't touch the mummy! Don't feed the mummy!' just like you'd yell 'Don't go into the basement!' or 'Don't hide in the closet!' There are certain conventions to slasher films and we all know them.
Douglas Clegg certainly knows them. He even admits it in the Afterword: The Attraction was meant as Clegg's "own version of the Slasher Movie" -- "a homage to them, without being an exact replica." And he certainly succeeds. Leave it to the man who re-imagined the haunted house in his Harrow series to be as creative when re-envisioning the slasher film.
The Attraction is fun; a bloody and gutsy and fun read. The reader is given an experience akin to watching a good slasher film. Can you remember the first time you watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th? You'd probably seen slasher films before, so you knew how it would all turn out because you knew the 'rules' that the genre obeyed. But you were still scared at times and, more importantly, you wanted to know how the story played out.
You know those stupid kids will touch and feed Scratch and you probably even know what the aftermath of that foolish maneuver will be, but the heart of this book -- like the film counterpart -- is not in the twists and turns of the plot but rather in the gory details. And Douglas Clegg's The Attraction delivers.
The first story is called "The Attraction" and its strength relies on the sharp and spot on character development. I adored the relationships he build between the five friends who went on a road trip though the dry, hot desert, somehow getting stranded in middle of nowhere, close to danger. I got to like some, dislike others and then I got to read about them coming across an ancient Aztec mummy, said to be the scraper of the bones who drank the blood and danced for rain in the ancient times on top of the pyramids. Its no secret that something happens and the monstrum comes to life, what happens next is the real beauty of the story. Be prepared for some gruesome devouring, the tale is good but ends a little tame for my tastes. Overall I love the characters and enjoyed the imaginative new nemesis that I have never read about before.
The second novel is about a very bad man who gets entangled in some very dark magic; it's a little intro to the wonderful Harrow series, about a haunted private school with many skeletons in its closet. It was a really dirty and intense story but really good at the same time, perhaps it's a good thing it was short because it was immensely dark and rich with truly horrific ideas.
I engulfed this book over the weekend and can't wait to get back to reading some more of Clegg, he's a real diamond in the rough and his stories entertain both the mind and the imagination.
- Kasia S.