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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In The Hour Before Dark, Douglas Clegg has created a brand-new incarnation of one of horror's most enduring icons: the Bad Place, using it as the principal setting for a compelling drama of murder, madness, and buried family secrets. And with this novel, this stylish, intelligent storyteller reinforces his reputation as one of the most consistently interesting horror writers working in America today.
The tale begins with the gruesome murder of Gordie Raglan, patriarch of the dysfunctional Raglan clan and owner of Hawthorn, a decaying, labyrinthine house on an isolated island off the Massachusetts coast. Among the issues that haunt the Raglan siblings -- all of whom, to some degree, have lost their way -- are vague, shifting recollections of their father's fits of violence and memories of their abandonment, many years before, by their beautiful, willful mother. Clegg uses the conventions of the supernatural horror story to illuminate the history of a lost, unhappy family, a clan shaped -- and warped -- by its hidden history of violence, lies, and manipulation. Beneath the lurid, often chilling surface lies a sympathetic, psychologically acute portrait of a family struggling to confront and overcome the demons of the past. If Pat Conroy had grown up in New England and turned his hand to horror fiction, he might have produced something very much like this disturbing, memorable book. Bill Sheehan