Far simpler in design than the recent You Come When I Call You (not reviewed), this latest from Clegg (a sequel of sorts to Nightmare House, also not reviewed) is a horror trilogy about Harrow Academy, a prep school for boys that at heart is a haunted house. When wealthy young Jim Hook is caught cheating on an exam, the question is whether or not his family’s dream for him will come crashing down. Well, not only does Jim find himself tapped for the academy’s most secret student group, the Cadaver Society, but a psychic moment that he had earlier in his adolescence opens a hallway of wildly vicious, mischievous horrors. (The story is, in a way, a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk.) But, Jim asks himself, is life what’s really in front of us, or is it just shadows of something else?
Clegg, winner of the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards, is no stylist like Poppy Z. Brite and never will be, but his horror opera charges ahead explosively.