I couldn’t find a more fitting book to review on Halloween. 🙂
“All human tragedies are tragedies of innocence waking.”
The Halloween Man, by Douglas Clegg, is far from what you might expect from its title. This is not a straight horror novel w/ a creepy “Babadook”-type character cast in shadow, come out to reek its revenge on Halloween night. Rather this is a coming-of-age tale, one that is deceptively woven into a narrative that can be a bit challenging, until you stop fighting it and allow it to lead you where it wills.
The novel itself is jarringly beautiful, a tragic love story that could be on par w/ Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and Clegg chooses wisely to let character drive the narrative versus plot with this one. Yet there are quite a few layers of mystery to be unwound, with a dark mythology surrounding the town of Stonehaven and an even darker past that ends up ruling the present or future.
“All you can do is look down the road and decide if it curves and if you’ll take the curve.”
One of the challenges with this novel is that eighty percent of it is told in flashback, the story beginning and ending with a bookend of “the present.” It felt a bit jarring at times, but once you decide you’ll take the curve, the story becomes something more than what happened in the past, and becomes the lives of characters you grow to love.
While there are certainly elements of horror here, I found this more of an enchanting tragedy, a journey I’m glad I was able to take. Quite non-traditional, go into this one with an open mind and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what it has to say.