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The Halloween Man

The Halloween Man

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The Halloween Man

évaluations:
3/5 (20 évaluations)
Longueur:
390 pages
6 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 30, 2012
ISBN:
9780985050528
Format:
Livre

Description

A mysterious New England village. A stolen child. An ancient ritual. A legend of shadows. A terrifying birthright. Who holds the key to the chilling mystery of Stonehaven and its desolate woods -- and what unspeakable creature remains trapped within its summer mansion?

From New York Times bestselling author Douglas Clegg comes a riveting, edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller of "overwhelming love and devastating terror."*

"Clegg's stories can chill the spine so effectively that the reader should keep paramedics on standby."-- Dean Koontz, NY Times bestselling author of The Husband, Odd Thomas, Velocity and many others.

"Combining both the quiet horror of a Charles Grant with the all-out spectacles of a Stephen King, Clegg's storytelling has never been better. The Halloween Man is a brilliant novel, up there with the best of Straub, King, and Koontz, and one of the most original tales of terror to come along in quite a while." -- Edward Lee, bestselling horror novelist.

"The Halloween Man is one of the best horror novels that I’ve read in years...I had never read anything by Clegg before reading this novel, but now I’m going to go out and get the rest of his books. If you’ve never heard of Clegg either, or are a fan of horror fiction, get this book right now." - Pixel Planet

"Halloween Man is a stunning horror novel, written with a degree of conviction that is rare these days." --Fiona Webster

"Clegg gets high marks on the terror scale..." -- The Daily News (New York)

"Douglas Clegg is one of horror's most captivating voices..." -- BookLovers

"Every bit as good as the best works of Stephen King, Peter Straub, or Dan Simmons..." -- Hellnotes: The Newsletter for the Horror Professional

*"The Halloween Man is about overwhelming love and devastating terror, human strength and supernatural power, and the eternal cycle of death and re-birth Packed with vivid imagery; a broadly-scoped but fast-paced plot; powerful, evocative writing; superb characterizations; and facile intelligence...Douglas Clegg has given horror lovers the best Halloween gift possible -- an entertaining spinetingler written with unique style..." -- DarkEcho

"Douglas Clegg has become the new star in horror fiction.." - Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story and, with Stephen King, The Talisman.

Books by Douglas Clegg

The Children’s Hour
Goat Dance
Purity
Dark of the Eye
The Words
Wild Things
Nightmare House
Bad Karma
Red Angel
Night Cage
Mischief
The Infinite
The Abandoned
The Necromancer
Isis
The Hour Before Dark
You Come When I Call You
Naomi
The Nightmare Chronicles
The Machinery of Night
Breeder
The Attraction
Where Flies Are Born & Other Horrors
The Vampyricon
The Priest of Blood
The Lady of Serpents
The Queen of Wolves
Coming of Age: 3 Novellas Bundle
Harrow: Three Novels Bundle
Criminally Insane: The Series Bundle

Praise for Douglas Clegg's Fiction

"Douglas Clegg knows exactly what scares us, and he knows just how to twist those fears into hair-raising chills..." - Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series.

"Clegg is the best horror writer of the post-Stephen King generation."
— Bentley Little, author of The Policy

"Clegg delivers!"
— John Saul, bestselling author of Faces of Fear and The Devil's Labyrinth.

"Clegg is one of the best!"
— Richard Laymon

"Douglas Clegg is a weaver of nightmares!"
— Robert R. McCammon
author of The Queen of Bedlam and Speaks The Nightbird.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 30, 2012
ISBN:
9780985050528
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Douglas Clegg is the author of more than 25 novels, including The Hour Before Dark, Isis, Neverland, The Children's Hour and many others. He's also penned the Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award-winning collection, The Nightmare Chronicles, and the Shocker Award winning, The Machinery of Night. He lives on the coast of New England.

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The Halloween Man - Douglas Clegg

The Halloween Man

Douglas Clegg

Contents

Praise for The Halloween Man and Douglas Clegg

Get the Free Newsletter

The Halloween Man

Prologue

PART ONE

the damnation highway

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

he whispered…

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

PART TWO

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

INTERLUDE

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

PART THREE

INTERLUDE

Chapter 27

COMES THE HALLOWEEN MAN, REAPING

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Epilogue

Read Goat Dance

Read Afterlife

Read Nightmare House

Also by Douglas Clegg

Contact Douglas Clegg

Disclaimer

Publication Credits

About the Author

Praise for The Halloween Man and Douglas Clegg

Clegg’s stories can chill the spine so effectively that the reader should keep paramedics on standby.

—Dean Koontz, New York Times bestselling author.


Douglas Clegg has become the new star in horror fiction.

—Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story and, with Stephen King, The Talisman


"The Halloween Man is one of the best horror novels that I’ve read in years...I had never read anything by Clegg before reading this novel, but now I’m going to go out and get the rest of his books. If you’ve never heard of Clegg either, or are a fan of horror fiction, get this book right now."

Pixel Planet


Clegg gets high marks on the terror scale...

The Daily News (New York)


Every bit as good as the best works of Stephen King, Peter Straub, or Dan Simmons...

Hellnotes


Packed with vivid imagery; a broadly-scoped but fast-paced plot; powerful, evocative writing; superb characterizations; and facile intelligence...Douglas Clegg has given horror lovers the best Halloween gift possible—an entertaining spinetingler written with unique style...

DarkEcho

Get the Free Newsletter

Get book updates, exclusive offers, news of contests & special treats for readers—become a V.I.P. member of Douglas Clegg’s long-running free newsletter.


Click here to sign up.


Click here to explore more fiction by Douglas Clegg.

The Halloween Man

A Novel of Supernatural Horror

Prologue

The shattering of glass and metal—as some unseen intruder broke the window—did not wake him. 

A voice in his head whispered, Your soul.

The boy shivered in his sleep. Rain and wind blew in across the near-desolate room, across the old woman’s face as she remained in some dream. The crunch and squeal of a door opening, of glass being stepped upon, all of this played at the edge of the boy’s consciousness but he could not tug away from the dream that had grabbed him.

The voice whispered, Your heart.

 His eyelids fluttered open for a moment, and then closed, as if the real world were the dream, and his inner world, the truth.

Even the mindpain was only a shredded curtain, blowing against a window of the dream.

The boy dreamed on. His inner eyes opened onto the other world, the one of insane geometries, of orange lightning, of fire that rained from trees like leaves falling, of the birds rising from the water their impossibly pure white wings spreading across the burning sky. As the sky filled with bloody swans, he saw the dark ram with its golden eyes shining as it galloped towards him across the surface of the unbroken water. Then the eels wriggling across the glassy surface, turning the brown water red with their wakes. The ram rode across their backs, its hooves beating like knives on stones. The Azriel Light came up from its breath, forming crystalline in the mist of air, and then burned across the world. What was unspeakable found voice and its bleating froze the air for a moment hacked from the fabric of time as the secret of all stabbed at his ears.

Someone tried to wake him from it. The mindpain came back like a bolt of lightning, burning along his neural pathways. The boy’s eyes opened, his dream torn apart.

The man shook him awake and held a hand over his mouth. The room came back with its shadows of curtains and half-opened cupboards. The shroud of dawn. The room that always seemed too small for all of them. The others slept on around him.

The man wore a dark leather jacket and jeans, and the smell from him was almost sweet—like sage on the desert after a rain. 

You Satan? the boy asked in a hushed tone of reverence. 

I could be, the man whispered, his breath all cigarettes. If you keep quiet, you’ll live. Understand?

The boy nodded. The mindpain blossomed against his small skull. When it came on, as it usually did after one of the Great Meetings, it would blast within his head like the worst headache. Sometimes his nose would bleed from it. Sometimes he’d go into convulsions. He never knew how hard it would hit; he just knew it was PAIN. He knew it HURT. The mindpain didn’t let go until it was good and ready to.

The boy felt something pressed against his side.

Cold metal.

That’s right, the man whispered. It’s a gun. I will kill you if you make a noise or try to fight me. Or if you try to do what I know you can do.

The boy began shivering, and wasn’t sure if he could will himself to stop. He wanted to be back in his dream. It felt like ants were crawling all over his arms and legs. Ants stinging him all over, and then tickling along his neck. He wanted to swat and scratch, but he was afraid the man might use the gun. The boy had seen a jackrabbit get shot clean in half once. He didn’t need to imagine it happening to himself.

But the markings on him, the drawings...

He knew they were moving, the pictures on his shoulders. He wished he could scrape them from his flesh. He wanted to tell the stranger with the gun about them, about how they meant bad things when they began moving, but the boy knew this would do no good.

The man grinned as he lifted the boy up, wrapping a shabby blanket around him. The boy’s last view of what he had come to call home was the old woman lying there staring at him. Blood sluiced from between her lips, and tears bled down in rivulets from her eyes. The mattress beneath her was soaked red. Her fingers were still curled around a small amulet she kept with her, nothing more than a locket, a good luck charm. 

The boy was too tired to fight, and weakened, too, by the previous day’s performance. Mindpain always came after the show. Mindpain was like what the Great Father had called a hangover. It was the morning after. That was a problem for him, it sapped him of strength, and even when he had tried to kick out at the man, he could barely move his legs.

The man would probably kill him. The boy knew this is what kidnappers usually did. He had watched late night TV shows and knew that kidnappers rarely kept a kid alive.

The boy tried not to think of the gun.

Tried to remember the Great Father holding his arms out, his hands open to him. I will be your comfort in the valley of the shadow, the Great Father had said.

This was the valley of the shadow of death. This kidnapper and his gun and his blanket and the red stain on the mattress with the old woman’s mouth wide open.

Thinking about it, the boy winced. The hammering in his head grew stronger. 

The pounding of the rain on the roof seemed unbearable. It was a terrible rain, it had come at first as ice and then tiny pebbles hitting the corrugated tin roof, until finally, it was just water. God is pissin’ on us on accounta our sins, that’s what the old woman who took care of him would say, her Texas twang increasing with her years. She was dead now. She was in whatever Great Beyond existed, the boy knew. She was in the pictures that covered him now, as were all things that were no more. If the mindpain hadn’t descended that night, weakening him further, he might’ve been able to struggle against this evil man who took him. Even though the blanket covered the boy’s ears, it was as if the hoof beats of wild horses were beating down upon him from heaven.

The kidnapper threw him into the backseat of a car. Slammed the door. As they drove off, the boy glanced back at the place he’d called home and knew in his heart he would never see it again. Dawn was just bursting from the far horizon. Rain accompanied it, the first fresh drops hitting the car windows, dirt rinsing down. The pain in the boy’s head grew, and he could feel the tingling begin along his back and shoulders. He knew that whatever was supposed to start, all the things that he’d been warned about by the Great Father, would come to pass now.

Through him, the radiance would come, like electricity through the idiot wires of the gods.

His skin felt molten.

PART ONE

THE STORM KING


Down came the golden ship, plowing into the fallow earth as if planting a new crop in a dry field...

From THE STORM KING: INTERGALACTIC KNIGHT, Vol. 12

the damnation highway

It was drizzling and mysterious at the beginning of our journey.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Chapter One

THE KIDNAPPER


1


You can’t ever take this back.

The kidnapper heard the voice in his head.

You can’t ever undo this. You must now follow it through, what you’ve started.

You must now take it to its logical conclusion.

Try not to picture what you’re going to have to do to the kid.

The only emotion the man felt was an indefinable revulsion, not even fear, for an adrenaline rush overcame his cowardice. His sweat had dried up; his body no longer trembled with the knowledge of what he had to do. It was no longer a plan, or a plot; it was an action in fact. Yet he had to have control over himself, or he would lose it. He might just go over the edge, and then all that he’d worked so hard to keep in place for so many years—the lurker beneath his own skin—all would run wild. 

If a place could have an aura, this one did, and it was the aura that caused his revulsion. An aura of darkness, and it was almost like a physical heaviness to the place. A halo of nightmare, all around the periphery. He’d do right by the world if he poured kerosene at its edges and torched the whole place, and the dozen or so people sleeping there. The Rapturists, they called themselves, but for people of God they had quite an arsenal stored out in New Mexico. The Feds were already surrounding their Quonset huts just outside of Las Cruces, out in the dusty hills, ready for a showdown, at least according to the media. But the Rapturists had pockets all over the United States and parts of Central America. They were a big family of loons whose religious zeal tended towards forming militias and announcing messiahs with every change of weather.

This enclave, small as it was, and apparently as harmless, contained the only messiah that the man wanted:

The boy they called Shiloh or Prophet.

Funny that no one’s standing guard. Funny that they don’t feel the need to protect their little messiah from men like me who might want to do something terrible to him.

He had one final protection with him in case they did catch him, one little parachute of sorts.

Don’t think about it

All you want is the boy.

Funny though that no one is waking up, and funny about that woman lying on the mattress. Too dark to really get a look, but why didn’t she wake up? Why didn’t she try to stop him?

Don’t think about that either.

Don’t think about what might have been done last night, perhaps as some kind of God ritual among them, some kind of Kool-Aid laced with People’s Temple cyanide, or some other nasty little let’s go to Heaven together, shall we? party.

These Rapturists were that crazy. Their whole sense of religion is built around death anyway. No big surprise if by sunrise all of them will be found dead.

All but the boy.

What had Fairclough called it?

Oh yeah, the Azriel Light, which was suitably biblical since Azriel was the Angel of Death. The Azriel Light was simply a phenomenon of idiot humans going crazy and killing themselves when in the presence of the light of Holiness. Leave it to Fairclough and the Rapturists to describe their lack of survival skills to some bogus religious phrase. The Azriel Light, the blonde on the Christian show had said, is the warm glow of God’s love, but it is not of the flesh, but of spirit. The flesh is a covering, like this blouse and skirt I’m wearing, and we must shed it to move into the eternal light.

This was a place of darkness. No dawn, and no damn Azriel Light was going to make it any brighter.

I know another name for the Azriel Light, he thought. Moonfire.

All he wanted was to get the boy in the car and get the hell out of this enclave of rundown homes out in the middle of a Texas nowhere. The stink was everywhere—Stony Crawford could smell it like the scent of old blood, the way you knew that something or someone was dead, had been dead a long time and had just lain there in the excrement of death as if waiting for resurrection. He couldn’t wait to get out from among the shacks and mobile homes, and back into his car. And those cages, full of rattlesnakes, all still and eerie beneath the trailer that sat upon cinder blocks. Christ, that was creepy. People who would keep fifty rattlesnakes for their church social weren’t people you wanted to mess with. 

The kid stayed put, which was good for both of them. Stony had to make sure that no one followed.

Damn Death Cult. Damn superstitious backwoods New Ager Gospel spouters believing in snake oil and storm clouds and little boys who make rain come down over parched land.

He trembled as he slid into the front seat. Thought he saw a man standing off behind one of the shacks, just watching the spectacle.

The Kidnapping Of A Twelve Year Old Boy. The Miracle Worker kid of the Southwest. The Boy Who Predicted The Assassination. The Boy Who Healed The Sick. The Boy Who Raised The Dead. The Boy Who Made The Blind See and The Lame Walk. The New Messiah Of Texas And The World, Shiloh Incarnate.

Stony had read all the cheap magazines and lurid newspaper reports, seen the television show that dragged the kid before the cameras while some platinum blond with mascara for brains tried to suck money out of the viewers. The Rapture is coming, and Prophet is our savior! she cried, Send ten dollars, twenty, five hundred, whatever you can, be part of this great convergence of heaven and earth!

I guess I must be the Devil for stealing the Messiah.

I must be worse than the Devil, because I’m gonna take this kid and...

Don’t picture it. You weaken when you think about it. You start thinking stupid-ass warm fuzzy thoughts about the innocence of childhood and about love and about care and about how this is just after all a little boy, and for all you know you didn’t even get the right little boy, you did what you did last time, you grabbed the wrong kid.

The voice within him whispered, you got the wrong kid last time, remember? You were a dumb-ass twenty-year-old then and you grabbed the tot, and ran, and when you got out to the place where you were gonna blow him to kingdom come, turns out you had just grabbed some kid who was nothing but a kid. Ordinary. Sweet. Goofy. Scared. And you had to shut him up somehow, but you knew only killing him would do it.

So, instead, you just showed him something horrible. You showed him that place inside you that no one wants to see and stay sane. You let that kid see it, knowing it would fry his little four-year-old brain and then he’d spend half his childhood hoping that Hell wasn’t going to open up right under his feet.

Some wonderful as shit world you gave that kid, the wrong kid.

And you’re so damn sure this one here is the right one?

Who’s the monster, Stony?

I am, he whispered aloud.


2


They traveled by car, an old beat-up Mustang he’d bought for a hundred and fifty-seven bucks in a town farther south called Causeway Center. The old man selling the car had told him he was a fool to buy it even at that price, and it wouldn’t take him all the way up the coast, but it might get him as far as North Carolina, and from there, You’re on your own. Only God or Fate is gonna take care of this beat-up old piece of scrap metal from there on. The old man reminded him—too much—of his own father, not in the eyes, but in the mouth, that jug-chinned hangdog kind of mouth. He hadn’t really trusted the old man. He never really trusted anyone. But he double-checked his various maps, and he knew the Mustang was as good as any car he could find after he’d smashed up his other one. He didn’t have a lot of cash left, and now he had this mission.

That’s what it was. A pure mission.

Stony Crawford glanced at the glove compartment.

Don’t think about it.

Even thinking about it might make him know it’s there.

He ignored the image of it that his mind conjured. Keep your mind on the road. In the rear-view mirror, the boy slept. The backseat was outfitted with pillows and blankets. He didn’t want the boy to be uncomfortable. He didn’t want the kid to get too scared of him, not yet. The boy had dark hair, almost too long. His skin was a deep tan on his face, from the Texas sun. His pupils, when Stony had seen his eyes go wide, were large and dilated as if someone had been putting some sort of eye drops in them to increase the boy’s sensitivity to light. But otherwise, Stony had recognized the boy almost immediately. The shock of it almost threw him backwards. He’d been searching for this kid for just under twelve years, and finding him, he knew. He knew why the other kid had been the wrong one, because he’d been looking for all the wrong qualities. But seeing this boy was like thrusting his hand into a bucket of electric eels. 

He had arrived at the small one-room schoolhouse on the edge of a shit-dust town, and seen the boy from the back of the room. That death stink was all around, and the idiots there had brought in three corpses, as if the boy would actually be able to raise them back to life. But oh, those fundamentalist believers wanted to know that either Christ or the Antichrist had returned, Hallelujah, it didn’t matter which. They just wanted the fulfillment of a book written a long time ago, they didn’t want the truth of what the boy was. They didn’t want his totality.

Hallelujah, he makes the wine taste like water! Hallelujah, he maketh the lion to lie down with the lamb! Hallelujah, he knows the fires of hell, and the fate of the world is written upon him! Praise the Almighty, we found our li’l savior and now let’s praise him before we put him up on some cross and kick the living soul right outta him!

But Stony had seen him clearly. Known him, known what he had to do with the boy.

This particular child.

His fingers tensed around the steering wheel. He tried an old relaxation exercise, but the fear of what he must do came back to him.

He blinked, and in that split-second blindness:

 saw the red birds burst out of the skin, spreading across the sky, swirling in the wind and then coming together again, a wall of fire, its heat so intense it melted glass.

It was long ago, my friend, the comforting voice within him told him. The voice of an old friend, someone he had internalized over the years.

Nora.

A long time ago, and what’s past is past. All you can do is look down the road and decide if it curves and if you’ll take the curve.

It rained like the devil from Texas to Arkansas. The land turned from plains to hills, with great pine forests springing up. Even the rain seemed unnatural for northeast Texas, pouring down like the heavens had opened up. The trucks ahead of him splashed water up onto his windshield. The wash of color turning to gray-brown mud, splattering across his vision as the day grew darker with the overhanging clouds. The wipers swiped at it, but the road did not clear from the blur of water and gray.

The rain stopped just outside Little Rock. Traffic was light, and there were several motels along the roadside. Their bright red flashing vacancy signs beckoned to him, but he could not sleep. He could not sleep, and would not let himself rest. Because he knew if he did, then he might let the boy go. He might just stop, out of fear. Or out of a sense that maybe he was wrong, maybe all of it was a bad case of insanity, that his ever-present memory that swirled around inside him was, in fact, fantasy.

He might kill himself, in whatever way it was possible to do so.

To sleep for a thousand years, a voice in his head whispered. To be part of the nothing, the emptiness, and the everything. The enormity of existence, spread across it like fire. To not have to be trapped inside this prison of flesh and bone.

Nora, in her inimitable way, scoffed at this voice of dissent. There you go, ready to jump in a pond with a two-hundred-pound weight tied around your neck when all you have to do is take it off. You have made cosmic suffering an art, and you’re just too talented in that direction. Stony, when are you gonna just take responsibility for yourself and turn these demons around?

By then, his hands were tense on the steering wheel. He hadn’t slept in forty-eight hours, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could go. He tasted what he thought might be blood in his mouth. It wasn’t just the fear or stress; it was the knowing. The knowing of it. Not of what had been, but of what must be done. He glanced in the rear-view mirror constantly. He half-expected to see a police car following him. Or maybe the people from that awful place back in a small Texas roadside town, the middle of nowhere, a blind spot on the map. The kind of place where things like this might take hold.

Those people. 

The people who worshipped the boy.

I am kidnapping a kid from Texas, and dragging his ass halfway across the country, I have a gun, I have a...

(don’t think it and it won’t really be happening—don’t look at the glove compartment.)

Why do you live in me? he asked the Nora-voice once. Knew he was crazy for even asking one of the voices in his head about itself.

Because, came her reply. You won’t let me go.

Tried not to listen to the chaos of voices inside him. I’m not crazy, he said, and then realized he’d said it aloud.

Glanced back at the boy in the rear-view mirror.

I am a kidnapper. Felony.

I may be a murderer. Felony.

Oh, but worse. There’s a law beyond the law, and a justice beyond human justice.

Damnation is my only highway.


3


At some point in driving, he began seeing things on the road, like movies sprayed across his windshield. Just images from the past, people’s faces, the big summerhouse out on Juniper Point. He had to force his concentration to see the highway through them, to see what was up ahead.

Moonfire burst across his vision—

the yellow-white moon, corona of red around it like sunbursts—

A flashback as sure as if he’d dropped acid back when he was a teenager.

Moonfire, searing, almost blinding him—

the vision of her, 

Her face encased in a liquid white sac, the blue veins, like a spider web, through it. The pulsing of the life fluid.

Then, it was gone as quickly as it had arrived. The road ahead was dark and straight.

The sky lightened as storm clouds became as insubstantial as a dream across the reality of midday.

The smell of steamy autumn in the air, the humid moss of a warm October, caught in his throat. After the storm, the moisture evaporated in the brilliant sun. He wiped his sunglasses off, looking up at the open sky. A vast big blue empty that stretched for miles. There was no end to it as he glanced across the horizon. No clouds ahead. Nothing in the beyond but clear skies, no apparent darkness. It was a relief, for the rain had been like the pounding in his head since he’d found what he’d been searching for.

When the rain stopped, the memories quieted.

The rain had been like nails hitting stones in his head.

Or the soft thud of nails in hands.

Sometimes, it was just rain.

I’m hungry, the kid in the backseat said.

Later on.

There’s a war goin’ on, the kid said.

Yeah right.

There is. Between Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell, the boy said as if this had been drilled into him since the age of three. All of us is part of it, and my part is like a fire across the seas.

And he bound the serpent for a thousand years and—

You know Scripture? the boy asked, shocked.

You ain’t the messiah, kid, so just shut up about those chuckleheads we just left behind, Stony clucked. Then, Sorry, kid. I guess you could say I’m just in a bad mood.

The silence in the car became overbearing. Stony switched on the radio. The choices were country or preachers. Country won, hands down. Stony tuned into the end of an old Charlie Pride tune, Kiss An Angel Good Morning. The kid began singing along softly to it from the backseat.


4


How about over there? Stony pointed to the Waffle Hut off the highway. 

I guess, the boy said. You still in a bad mood?

Kid, I’m always in a bad mood. Waffle Hut?

McDonald’s would be okay.

You want to wait for the next McDonald’s? It might be a half hour.

Okay, whatever you say, you’re da boss, the boy said almost cheerfully.

You don’t mind that I’m taking you, Stony said after he’d parked in front of the Waffle Hut. You don’t mind that a stranger put you in his car and is driving someplace you have no idea of.

The boy shrugged. You’re the one with the gun, not me.


5


Inside, the Formica table coated with a thin layer of grease, the boy glanced at the spattered-plastic menu. My eyes must be bigger’n my belly. I want everything I can get.

Easy, kid, Stony said. Keep it under five bucks, okay?

When the waitress came over, she wiped down the table, took the orders, and the boy said, Grits, two sausages, three eggs, two pancakes. Big glass of milk.

Stony checked his wallet. Depressingly few bills remained in it. A small photo from the past: the fifteen-year-old girl with the dark skin and dark hair. Pretty eyes. Sweet smile. Around her neck, a small gold cross. Nothing for me, thanks. Wait, maybe some toast. Yeah, just some toast. Toast and coffee.

The boy glared at him. I got to eat. He took a sip from the glass of water. "Your car

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  • (3/5)
    My first Douglas Clegg book will not be my last. The book had problems, but I was very impressed with Clegg's writing.Stony Crawford is on the road with a kidnapped child messiah. As he travels he remembers events from his own childhood in the New English town of Stone Haven. The Halloween Man is an ambitious horror tale that is not easy to sum up without including spoilers. I can say that it has very little to do with Halloween. If you are looking for a book to read in the last weeks of October that deals with harvest time, pumpkins and trick-or-treaters, this is not it. At its heart it is a tale of Satanism and black magic. That isn't entirely accurate, but close enough to give a spoiler-less idea for potential readers, I hope.I enjoyed the book. It told an exciting and complex story that I got into and was exceptionally well written. But I never felt... connected to it. I got the feeling he was maybe a bit too ambitious with his storry. It sort of came off as muddled. I was impressed with the book while I was reading it but (until the end) it wasn't a book I would eagerly anticipate picking up again.I liked the writing, A LOT. From this first experience I can say that Douglas Clegg is quite a talented author. But the writing would tend to get too lyrical at times. This was a problem for me especially at the beginning of the book. Doug throws you into the story as it is already underway. This can work really well, making the reader immediately feel unsafe and out of his depth. But a confused story coupled with overly ambiguous writing made the beginning of the book feel a bit like a chore.He does a decent job of describing the town of Stonehaven, but the book was missing a real sense of time and place. It could be that I was extra sensitive, because I've just recently reread Stephen King's It and The Tommyknockers, two books that create completely detailed and believable New England towns. The Halloween Man's Stonehaven came off as much sketchier. I never got the sense of verisimilitude that the book wanted me to have.Still, I did enjoy the book overall. As the story progressed I was drawn into it and was excited to see where it would go. I would have no problem suggesting Douglas Clegg to an interested reader, but I get the feeling this book probably isn't the place to start.