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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
If you missed the premier of Douglas Clegg's Naomi in 2000, when he made it available free as an email serialization, here's your chance to find out what all the buzz is about. This deliciously creepy tale of serpents, witches, and a subterranean world beneath Manhattan's busy streets is a tragic love story about fate, destiny, and the sometimes awful truths behind our human existence.
Naomi Faulkner and Jake Richmond were childhood friends who grew up in Virginia's backcountry. They shared love, happiness, and a terrible secret -- until the day Naomi disappeared. As an adult, Jake moves to Manhattan, marries, has a child, and then gets divorced. Unbeknownst to him, Naomi is also in Manhattan, leading a life filled with sadness and despair. By the time Jake discovers that Naomi is living nearby, she is dead, having thrown herself in front of a subway train. Dead, but not exactly gone.
In Greenwich Village, a middle-aged woman named Maddy discovers that some sort of witches' holocaust took place on the land beneath her brownstone, which is undergoing extensive renovations. The exposed graves contain some gruesome artifacts and a centuries-old diary that belonged to a woman named Naomi. The diary reveals the terrible truth about this Naomi's life and death and provides a key to a formidable power. When Maddy succumbs to her curiosity and delves deeper into the diary's secrets, it leads her far underground to a vast maze of tunnels beneath the Manhattan streets. Also drawn there, by what seems to be the ghost of the modern-day Naomi, is Jake. Awaiting them is a dark and evil force that is about to break free of its bonds and wreak terror on the world. For Maddy and Jake, the stakes couldn't be any higher -- they must risk more than just their lives if they hope to emerge triumphant.
The sense of unavoidable destiny and the bittersweet poignancy of Jake and Naomi's doomed love provide an added layer of texture to Clegg's subtle but clever horror. Plus, the immaculate pacing makes for a sweet bit of torture all its own; Clegg builds the suspense until the pages fairly crackle with it. His masterful use of imagery combined with the complexity of his characters makes for a lasting impression, a lingering sense of wonderful terror that hangs on long after the last page has been turned. (Beth Amos)