Book Reviews

{Review} THE HOUR BEFORE DARK, by Douglas Clegg

{Review} THE HOUR BEFORE DARK, by Douglas CleggTHE HOUR BEFORE DARK by Douglas Clegg
Published by Alkemara Press on May 23, 20012
Genres: Crime, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

“His best and most exciting novel to date." – Peter Straub.
"Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will appreciate this atmospheric gem." ★★★★★ "Kept me on the edge of my seat!"★★★★★
A children's game played in the dark brings on a nightmarish rampage in this supernatural thriller by the NY Times bestselling author of Neverland and The Children's Hour.

After the brutal murder of a loved one, Nemo Raglan must return to the New England island he thought he'd escaped for good . . . and the shadowy home called Hawthorn.

"Douglas Clegg has become the new star in horror fiction, and The Hour Before Dark is his best and most exciting novel to date. This is pure imagination, and it is wearing speed skates." -- Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Story and, with Stephen King, The Talisman.

"A classic of modern supernatural horror."

*"...An eerie psychological tale of supernatural horror that builds suspense gradually as the characters slowly peel back the layers of their past and face the terrors of their shared childhood. Clegg approaches horror with a stark and vital simplicity that is utterly convincing. Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will appreciate this atmospheric gem." -- Library Journal.

"I was compelled to keep turning the pages as fear...raised my pulse to racing level from cover to cover." -- DarkEcho.

From the Publishers Weekly Starred Review:
"Suspenseful and relentlessly spooky, told in economical prose yet peopled by characters as fully realized as one’s own blood kin, this is at once the most artful and most mainstream tale yet from one of horror’s brightest lights."

"... A dark,psychologically astute novel that pushes beyond the horror genre
and into raw suspense...THE HOUR BEFORE DARK is a powerful and deeply engaging novel of disturbance and redemption...highly recommended to any reader who enjoys Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or Pat Conroy." -- The BookReporter.

"In his finest novel to date, Clegg establishes himself firmly as one of the leading authors in the horror genre...Hold onto your chair; The Hour Before Dark is a powerhouse of a read." -- Cemetery Dance Magazine.

A gripping read that is refreshingly character-driven, yet still produces a palpable sense of dread." - Fangoria.

THE HOUR BEFORE DARK, by Douglas Clegg, is one of those novels that grabs you by the throat right from the start, and doesn’t let go until the end. Even when some aspects of the tale seem obvious, there were always several other pieces to the puzzle that didn’t quite fit in place.

“Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.”
(Nursery rhyme)

After finding their father viciously murdered, Brooke Raglan calls her brothers, Nemo and Bruno back to Burnley Island. In particular, she summons them back to Hawthorn Farm, the rambling, complicated structure that served as the Raglans’ home for centuries.

“. . . Sometimes it’s like a prison. It’s like a place with too many doors. And none of them lead outside . . . “

I really enjoyed the characters in this novel! Clegg brings them alive so well that you feel as if they’ve–somehow–always been a part of your life. Even when the brothers return to their family home, it’s the kind of return that feels like they’ve only been gone hours instead of–in Nemo’s case–years. Time seems to not only stand still for the three close siblings, but even regress back into the past.

At the heart of it all lies the mysterious “Dark Game” that they used to play together in the hour just before dark.

“I had grown to hate the Dark Game . . . The more you played it, the more power you felt.”

The isolation that the Raglans self-imposed on themselves seems to be a smaller scale of the lifestyle on the entire island. With the exception of summer tourists, these people keep to themselves, viewing anyone not born into a family there, an outsider. The murder of the Raglan Patriarch is the biggest news a small town like that is likely to have. I felt that this added to the complexity of the case, as people in the community are not the type to share their thoughts with others.

“. . . You can spend your whole life not telling the truth about who you are inside. Life is easier that way.”

While the plot deviates from present to some scenes in the family’s past, subtle discrepancies are able to be picked up. The pacing, though leisurely, felt exactly right to me in an emotionally and psychologically driven novel such as this.

Overall, a great horror novel that gives you plenty to think about, characters you don’t want to leave, and a setting that couldn’t possibly be more ideal to set the complete scene. I feel that Clegg is one of the great masters of this genre, and this novel certainly helps to justify that opinion.

“. . . It’s something that exists in it. We don’t play it. It plays us.”

Highly recommended!

About Douglas Clegg

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I’ve been a novelist and writer for years, as you can see from the many books available in ebook, print, and audiobook formats.

Additionally, some recent box sets of ebooks are launching including Dark Rooms: Three Novels, Night Towns: Three Novels, The Vampyricon (Complete in Box Set), and a few others. Check them out; most are set up so you save a bit versus all three books separately.

With more books to come. Hoping to launch

I live in New England and write dark fiction, which can mean horror, suspense, thriller, gothic, fantasy and well, just “dark fiction.” I appreciate that you’re checking out my novels and stories. Thank you.

Current Bio:

Douglas Clegg is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Neverland, The Priest of Blood, The Children’s Hour, among many other novels and collections. He has written many books and more short stories.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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