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About the Author

Douglas Clegg is the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award winning author of more than a dozen novels, including the Internet's first publisher-sponsored e-serial novel, Naomi. Under a pseudonym, Clegg wrote the bestseller Bad Karma, which will be out in 2001 as a movie starring the British actress, Patsy Kensit. His ebook, Purity, has reached over 100,000 readers on the Internet. ...
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About the Author

Douglas Clegg is the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award winning author of more than a dozen novels, including the Internet's first publisher-sponsored e-serial novel, Naomi. Under a pseudonym, Clegg wrote the bestseller Bad Karma, which will be out in 2001 as a movie starring the British actress, Patsy Kensit. His ebook, Purity, has reached over 100,000 readers on the Internet. His current print fiction includes You Come When I Call You, Mischief, and The Infinite.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An adolescent's cruel mischief proves a pathway to a dimension of otherworldly terrors in this creepy supernatural thriller, first published as a mass-market paperback in 1991. One summer on Gull Island off the coast of Georgia, Sumter Monroe indoctrinates his cousin Beau Jackson into the marvels of “Neverland,” Sumter's name for a tumble-down shack on their mutual maternal grandmother's property that's a shrine to a god he names “Lucy.” In Neverland, reality and illusion blur eerily, and the spirit of fun takes a malevolent turn as Sumter begin offering “sacrifices” of an increasingly disturbing nature to placate Lucy and sustain his special relationship with her. Clegg (The Vampyricon) crafts a haunting story redolent with the influence of Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, and other classic horror writers. His credible rendering of the internal lives of children and their imaginations give this flight of dark fancy a firm and frightening foothold in reality. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly
Douglas Clegg fans will welcome the reissue of his coming-of-age novel, Neverland (1991), set in rural Georgia. In his introduction, Bentley Little explains why this Southern gothic is his "favorite horror novel of the 1990s." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Dean Koontz, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Clegg's stories can chill the spine so effectively that the reader should keep paramedics on standby."

Sherrilyn Kenyon, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Douglas Clegg is the future of dark fantasy."

David Morrell, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Shimmer 
"Douglas Clegg's Neverland is an unforgettable novel that combines creeping horror and psychological suspense. It starts like a bullet and never slows down."

Marjorie M. Liu, New York Times Bestselling Author
"From start to finish, Neverland is a haunting and tragic masterpiece. A powerful, thrilling tale, Douglas Clegg tells Beau and Sumner's incredible story with a subtle blend of humor and sadness that resonates with the reader long after the novel ends.”

F. Paul Wilson, New York Times Bestselling Author
“This is a powerful and thrilling tale, Douglas Clegg’s best novel yet. The novel builds in whispers and ends in a scream. You will never forget Neverland.”

Bentley Little, Bestselling Author
“A brilliant novel that grows richer with each reading, a multilayered marvel that will one day be recognized as one of the classics of supernatural literature.”

Library Journal
Clegg's name is less known in libraries than it is among an eclectic group of horror and dark fantasy readers for whom his "Vampyricon" series and, most recently, the novel Isis, are already classics. Clegg began his career with Goat Dance (1989); since then, along with pioneering epublishing ventures, he finds his way to readers through an array of niche publishing houses. This early work, originally published by Pocket Books in 1991 but long out of print, is a coming-of-age horror tale set on mysterious Gull Island, where four children try to survive the terrors the island serves up. VERDICT Fans' desire for this title has given it collectible status, fetching three-digit prices for mint-condition copies. Although there is an awkwardness in the plotting and storytelling that Clegg has long since grown out of, the book does well as an introduction to the author for new readers, particularly YAs. Libraries with a growing number of horror and fantasy readers may find that this new, partially illustrated edition will give patrons yet another author to add to their list of favorites.—Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593156367
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press
  • Publication date: 2/8/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 4.04 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Clegg is the New York Times bestselling author of Isis, The Priest of Blood, Afterlife, and The Hour Before Dark, among other novels. His short story collection, The Machinery of Night, won a Shocker Award, and his first collection, The Nightmare Chronicles, won both the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award.

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Read an Excerpt




No Grown-ups.

Among other words we wrote across the walls, some in chalk, some with spray paint, these two words were what my cousin Sumter believed in most.

There were other words.

Some of them were written in blood.


I have always known about my dreams. It's like blue eyes in the family, it's like the way Grammy could predict the weather. The dreams used to take me out of my body, just like I was flying, and sometimes they were good dreams and sometimes they were bad. I rarely ever told anyone about my dreams, because I saw things in them and I believed them. Sometimes, harmless things, like a woman sitting across from me on a bus who I dreamed was going to ask me what time it was, and then she did. Or I would dream of what my sisters had gotten me for Christmas, and I would be right.

Sometimes, the dreams were darker.

I had a relative who was crazy, and my great-grandmother Wandigaux was in and out of institutions most of her life because of alcoholism and schizophrenia: she knew about her dreams, too, but she made the mistake of talking about them. I learned early not to talk about most of the things I saw, even when I was wide-awake and dreaming. People think you're crazy if you dream too much, if you see too much. Even now the dreams take me back there - to that strip of land off the coast of Georgia, the place where our tragedies were born.

The place where my cousin Sumter reigned, and dreams and nightmares intertwined.

I didn't meet Sumter until we were both six years old, and my parents took me and the twins - Missy and Nonie, although their real names were Melissa and Leonora - to Gull Island to see Grampa Lee while he was still breathing. My little brother Governor would not be born for another three years, and Missy and Nonie - who were eight and inseparable - spent our six days on the island in the company of a middle-aged maid named Sugar who treated my sisters like little princesses.

Grampa Lee scared us so much that the grown-ups kept us away from him - his body was ravaged by illness, and he coughed phlegm up onto our sleeves when he tried to hug us. He stank of sourmash and B.O. The maid was constantly lugging a huge canister of fly spray, and would pump out a few shots into the room, which would then take on an aspect of peppermint to further confuse our noses. Grampa's body odor, peppermint, and Grammy's potpourri slapped at us at every turn; outside, near the bluffs, the air was all of dead fish and seaweed and salt. Nonie walked around half the time holding her nose - she did what she could to stay as far from our grandfather's bed as possible.

Grampa Lee was just a shadow to me, sunken into the huge four-poster bed, his dried-apple head hardly ever lifting up from the pillow. Uncle Ralph had always said that Grammy had wizened him before his time with her nagging and moods, and perhaps there was some truth to this. The skin on his hands was like tattered spiderwebs, and when he held his hand out for me to touch him, I flinched. "First rule of life," he said, "watch your back, boy, and take care of yourself first. You take care of your garden, and things will go your way. You spend too much time in somebody else's yard, and yours'll wither and die. I know, boy, I been there and back and now I'm just withering." When he spoke, it reminded me of what my mother told us about conscience, that it was the "small voice" in our heads, and Grampa Lee's voice was that same one, just a small voice in my head; and, just like what little conscience six-year-olds have, completely ignorable compared to the bigger voices surrounding it.

On that trip I was only dimly aware of my cousin Sumter, for he mostly hid behind his mother's skirts as if he were sewn right into the cotton. His eyes were wide soup bowls, and his mouth a small round empty spoon. He would clutch at her hemline and press his nose against the backs of her legs. My aunt Cricket never seemed to mind - just kept right on talking as if he wasn't there.

But as soon as he'd make a move in another direction, out would come her hand, down to his shoulder, and pinch him hard. Without a sound he would huddle closer to her and stare out at me in pop-eyed wonder. "Sunny," my aunt would say, "be a good boy for mama."

And there was something hard and shiny in Sumter's eyes, like a splinter that he wanted to keep thrust in them, something that made me think maybe if Sumter had a garden to tend that he would probably set it on fire and laugh while it burned.

It wasn't until the third evening that he spoke directly to me. Our parents were sitting on the front porch drinking bourbon and lemonade and talking about the upcoming elections and the dreadful way the Democrats had thrown the South to the dogs. Missy and Nonie were playing with Grammy's old gingerbread dollhouse and her twenty-seven Victorian dolls. They brushed each other's hair with Grammy's silver-handled natural bristle brush while Grammy and Sugar watched over them in one of the guest bedrooms. Grammy had a way of watching over children that made me think she didn't much care for them. I once overheard her telling Mama that until human beings reached the age of reason, there was nothing could be done with them but make sure they stayed out of trouble.

Sumter was supposed to be showing me his new plastic snap-together bird model. It was a canary, but he'd snapped all the wrong things on, the feet where the head should be, a wing where the feet were supposed to go. It looked goofy, and I told him so. "It ain't like that. No bird looks that way."

"I seen birds like this," he out-and-out lied. "Can you keep a secret?"

I shrugged. "Sometimes."

He told me, "I sold my soul to the Devil last full moon." He spoke like a four-year-old and had a slight lisp. His hair was pure white and fluffy like duck down - Daddy called him a towhead, but at the time I thought he meant toadhead - the curly hair was too long for a little boy (my father preferred to keep me in a flattop at that age), and I did not like him one bit. He was just the sissiest thing I'd ever seen.

I told him he made that up about the Devil.

"Look," he said, and rolled the sleeve of his white shirt up past his elbow. There were twelve stitches tracking from inside the crook of his elbow all the way up to his shoulder. When you are six, scars and such exercise a strange fascination. I moved closer to get a better look. "I went down to a place in the woods, and I met the Devil and he told me to do it."

"You been playing with milk bottles is all," I said. "I did that once when I was only four, on my toes. I ran out the door and into the bottles and they broke all over me. A stitch for each toe. You're fibbing, you ratfink."

"Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. The Devil's got hooves and a tail and he's hungry all the time. He's out on the bluffs."

"You been watching TV is all," I said. There was something about my cousin that made me nervous, made me wish the grown-ups had included me in their group. I wanted then to be sitting between my father and my mother on the front-porch swing, pretending to understand what they were talking about.

"Watch this," my cousin said, and reached up with his left hand. He stroked his fingers across the stitches. The skin around where he touched turned pink, as if his arm were blushing. "I'm calling blood up, it's something the Devil taught me."

Then he made me put my hand against his stitches. "You can call the blood up, too."

He told me to pinch the stitches.

I felt a kind of heat pass from his arm to mine, until it seemed like he was burning with fever and I would catch it, too, at any moment.

I pinched down on the stitching, harder than I meant to, until I felt my fingernails scoop into his flesh.

And as I pinched them, he thrust his arm hard against my fingers, twisting his elbow around as if he were double-jointed, and then pulled down sharply. My fingernails came away with skin slivers.

Without wanting to, I had pulled his stitches out.

His arm gushed with blood.

Sumter screamed out loud. His face stretched out like Silly-Putty. His skin was red from crying; blood sprayed out from his open cut in rhythmic spurts; I tried to shut the skin back together, suturing it with my fingers while his life poured out across my hands.

"You made me do that!" I yelled at him, but by that time Aunt Cricket had come running in from the porch smelling like cigarettes and kisses, and she grabbed Sumter up, cradling him, holding his arm together. He clutched her fat arm like it was a tree branch swaying in the wind, his head snuggled into the paisley green-gold of her blouse just above her box-shaped breasts. He pressed his bleeding arm against her neck to stop the flow.

After she shouted for Uncle Ralph to call the doctor, she looked at me and at her son and said, "Sunny, I can't leave you alone for a minute, can I? But you," she said to me, "I would've thought you'd have more sense, since your daddy's so sharp."

I don't believe my cousin Sumter really sold his soul to the Devil back then. But Sumter was open, ready, even at six, to give himself to something so completely that he would endure pain as proof of his willingness.

My cousin Sumter was looking to sell his soul.

Four summers later, when we were both ten, he found his god, in a dwarf's shack. In that sacred Gullah place, something waited there, wanting what he had to offer.


No child alive has a choice as to where he or she will go in the summer, so for every August after Grampa Lee died, our parents would drag us back to that small, as yet undeveloped peninsula off the coast of Georgia, mistakenly called an island.

Gull Island.

We would arrive just as its few summer residents were leaving. No one in their right mind ever vacationed off that section of the Georgia coastline after August first, and Gull Island may have been the worst of any vacation spots along the ocean. Giant black flies would invade the shore, while jellyfish spread out across the dull brown beaches like a new coat of wax. It was not, as sarcastic Nonie would remark, "the armpit of the universe," but often smelled like it.

The Jackson family could afford no better. We were not rich, and we were not poor, but we were the kind of family that always stayed in Howard Johnson's when we traveled together, and were the last on the block to have an air-conditioned car and a color television. Daddy was still jumping from job to job, trying to succeed in sales while he tried as well to overcome the bad stammer that had appeared when he'd attempted to sell his first piece of commercial property. We could not afford the more fashionable shores of Myrtle Beach, nor would my mother consent to go to the land of the carpetbaggers, as she called Virginia Beach. So we would go to what was called the "ancestral home" on Gull Island, which the twins and I had nicknamed "Dull Island."

It was there that we were first introduced to a clubhouse inside which my cousin, Sumter Monroe, ruled, and through which our greatest nightmare began.

The shack, really just a shed, was almost invisible were you to walk into the woods and look for it - it blended into the pines that edged the slight bluff rising out of the desolate beach. There was a story that it had belonged to a dwarf who had been a ship's mascot all his life and had built it there so he could watch the boats come in. Another story made it out to be built on the site of an old slave burial ground. But Mama told me that it had just been the gardener's shed, and "don't you kids make up stories to scare each other, I will not have my vacation ruined with nightmares and mindless chatter." Sumter was fascinated by the shack, and terrified, too. The first three Augusts my family spent on the peninsula, my cousin Sumter would not go near it, nor would he allow any of us others to venture through its warped doorway. He acted like it was his and his alone, and none of the rest of us cared enough about that moldy old place to cross him.

But that was when he was still completely under my aunt Cricket's thumb. Sumter was an absurdly loyal mama's boy, and I thought he was too much of a sissy to really be my cousin. Aunt Cricket, wiping her Bisquick-powdered hands into her apron, would call after him from the front porch as we all trooped toward the woods, "Sunny, you be careful of snakes! You wearing your Off! spray? Don't you give me that look young man, and don't spoil your appetite for lunch. And Sunny, never, never let me catch you around that old shack! You hear me? Never!"

So, the fourth summer I knew my cousin, Sumter Monroe, he entered the shed and he named it.

He called it Neverland.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 41 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2011


    Suspenseful with a great story. I found myself really looking forward to reading it each day!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010


    This another excellent read from one of the best authors in the field. gripping and exciting. This book grabs you and pulls you in asnd doesnt let you go.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2010


    Children are not always nice, and little old ladies are not always entirely benevolent. Family is not always a support, and home is not always sanctuary. Evil creeps into the old places and doesn't necessarily wash away cleanly as time wears on. When children are chosen as the easy prey, and when evil is perpetuated by one who should be among the innocents, the insidious nature of wickedness begins to reveal itself. Reality becomes tenuous as lies and illusions and faith help to distort. The author captures all these thing in one easy-to-read package. It's a creepy ride leading to the realization that one must recognize and cherish that which is most valuable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    NEVERLAND by Douglas Clegg

    The mold on the back of a Normal Rockwell painting.

    Tennessee Williams drag racing Ray Bradbury down David Lynch's Lost Highway.

    A little Southern Gothic, a little Peter Pan it's a Sneak peek behind the curtain of the Saccharine coated Sit-Com version of family life. This is horror at its finest. The horror of family values and summer vacations turned sideways and thrown over a cliff. A story of childhood gone horribly wrong and the pain and disillusionment of a family's American Dream becoming the American Nightmare. It takes you on a journey that's all too close to home...and does not disappoint.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013


    I have read several of this author's novels and NEVERLAND has definitely been the best so far. I never once was bored and stayed way past my bedtime several nights reading this story. Very hard to put down. I enjoyed the character development, the realism of the dysfunctional family, and the paranormal aspect included. Highly recommended!!

    ~ DO ~

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    If Stephen King had written Tom Sawyer....

    I found this in the Science fiction section and was greatly disappointed at the lack of science fiction content. With less than 100 pages remaining, there had only been a few instances of anything supernatural and even then it felt more like hallucinations and mind games than science fiction. The story moved painfully slowly and was filled with dry, uninteresting characters. This is the first book in a long while that I have not been able to force myself to finish. If you are a fan of Stephen King and coming of age stories, this may be for you, but I caution you to try a few chapters in the store before committing.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Children are Seeming Stranger Than Usual...

    The Jackson family seems doomed to spend every summer vacation at a remote location off the coast of Georgia, a place called Gull Island. To the youngest members of the Jackson family, the site is dull and offers very little in the way of entertainment. And there always seems to be tension in the old and dismal house owned by their scrutinizing grandmother. The children are only attempting to find a safe haven when their cousin Sumter stumbles upon a strange, well-hidden shack, which they call Neverland. The fun at Neverland is innocent enough at first. But now, the kids of this family clan are beginning to act strangely: offering sacrifices to a creature of the shadows, insisting that parents are never allowed in their refuge, and writing on the shack's walls-in blood. The mystery surrounding Neverland begins to unfold as the reality behind the strange creature of shadows worshiped by the children starts to take shape. It is a reality that transforms Gull Island into a place of terror, and the children's games are becoming very destructive. What secrets are held by Neverland, the newest novel from Douglass Clegg? Clegg is the critically acclaimed author of Isis, an award-winning novel that has earned Clegg a positive reputation in the genre of suspense/horror fiction. This disturbing addition to his collection of written works deals with the idea of lost innocence in its most horrifying manifestations. Neverland is an excellent book for fans of Clegg's previous work, of course, and it should also be well-received by readers of both suspense and horror novels.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    When Beau is ten years old he, his parents and twin sisters go to Gull Island, Georgia to see his granny. Also visiting at the same time is his cousin Sumter and his parents. The children watch their parents get drunk every night and say terrible things to each other. Sumter has a teddy bear called Bernard that he clings to while his father calls him a sissy who should act like a boy instead of a girl.---------------- It is Sumter who finds the abandoned shack on his granny¿s property and he calls it Neverland. He brings Beau to it and introduces him to the god he worships in a crate. Strange inexplicable things happen in this shack as they worship the god. He puts his hand in the crate as do his sisters when they come to Neverland and feel something bite them. A blood sacrifice is made as the children put their blood in the crate. Beau and the children believe they fly over Gull Island and see the ghosts of dead children Sumter communicates telepathically with Beau who believes what happens is real. He knows that some things are inexplicable because his dreams come true. It is when Sumter wants them to make the final sacrifice that Beau turns against him risking his life to stop it from happening.------------------ Douglas Clegg is a talented horror writer who manages to creep out his audience with a very visual picturesque storyline so that the reader feels as if they are inside the storyline. This is dark atmospheric work, gothic in tone that makes the readers question whether the events Beau experiences have more than one explanation. Neverland is a scary work written by an author soaring to the top of his game.----------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2014

    Couldn't put it down

    I am a huge horror fan. I haven't read a book this good in ages. I couldn't put it down, stayed up past midnight reading, yet didn't want it to end. I did wake up from a screaming nightmare last night...but isn't that evidence of its excellence?

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  • Posted November 14, 2014

    Dark and Compelling.... a true Masterpiece!  Douglas Clegg is on

    Dark and Compelling.... a true Masterpiece!  Douglas Clegg is one of the best writers around. Although he's usually classified or viewed as horro, his writing is so unique and evocative that it's hard not to get drawn into his stories, no matter what he writes. He is a true master of the gothic novel, by which I mean gothic as written by authors such as Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe and Edgar Allan Poe.

    In "Neverland," he beautifully portrays the carefree summer days of childhood and no one can do this quite like he can. But underlying it all is a menacing sense of dread and gloom, quite like real childhood, when the things you don't understand and the obscure symbols of the night, can overshadow the sunniest and happiest of days.

    With a unique and compelling voice, Doug Clegg draws you into the story and the lives of Beau and Sumter, as inevitably as a dream from which you can't awake. This is dark suspense at its finest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2014


    I could not finish this book. There was so much anger and evil. Every time I put it down I had difficulty going back. Such a disturbing story. I have to wonder what kind of mind could think up such a story. I cannot under any circumstances recommend this book to anyone I know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011


    Ithe title sounds like everwild series which i would recomend:)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011


    This book was one of the worst books I have ever read. The characters were weak, the story was weak. Don't waste your time!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Book for adult or teen?

    I felt like I was reading a book written for a teen.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 8, 2011

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    Posted July 22, 2011

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    Posted February 19, 2015

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    Posted January 3, 2011

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    Posted October 22, 2011

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