A review by verkisto
The Children's Hour by Douglas Clegg


This novel was the first book published after Dell ended the Abyss imprint, but still had contracts for horror novels from that line. (This book doesn't have the Abyss logo on the spine, nor in the inside cover, but the flyleaf still has the Abyss blurb.) By now, the horror boom was ending, Abyss wasn't the gangbusters imprint the publishers had hoped for, and it was time to come to terms with that. The Children's Hour is an appropriate title to represent all that, because, frankly, it's not that good.

The story is a blend of Stephen King novels. It's set in a small town, and the main villains appear to be vampires ('Salem's Lot), the main character is a writer, dealing with his own demons and at one point becomes a threat to his family (The Shining), and the main baddie is some demon from another world or dimension that thrives on children's beliefs, and everyone fighting it calls it It (It). It's a bunch of derivative ideas, written in such a way that makes it anything but engaging, while still trying to ape King's folksy charm. It's a convoluted mess.

I added these books on to my Abyss reading project, for obvious reasons, and I expect them to be the same kind of mixed bag those books were, but I expected more from this book, since Clegg is still considered a wunderkind within the genre. I'm hoping Neverland, another book of his that came highly recommended to me, will be better than this.