January 24, 2012

Review - "Purity" by Douglas Clegg

This is my first horror novella, and that is not bad! I am widening my horizon, as was one of my objectives with jotting down my reading challenges for 2012. I wasn't disappointed! I didn't know Douglas Clegg, but with some active reading on Amazon.com I found enough reviews to convince me to try. Maybe a touch of Dean R. Koontz? One can only hope..

A bit about the novella

Owen is the teenager son of the gardener who tends the gardens to the rich and famous house owners at Outerbridge Island. He lives with his father and mother in a small house which belonges to the Montgomery family. Owen is so in love with the rich Montgomery girl about the same age as himself. She visits the island every summer holiday and spends a few weeks there every year. Owen gets really upset when she brings her new boyfriend, Jimmy, to the island the same year they are going to celebrate their 18th birthday.

Owen decides to win Jenna back by seducing her sexual frustrated boyfriend. Owen is mentally a very complex person and his mother starts to fear the evil that now more often comes to the surface. Owen has also a secret that he has hidden in one of the ponds in the garden, a scary god-like statue which means a lot to him. He realizes, that if he cannot compete against Jimmy to get Jenna, stronger measures need to be taken. Even if it means murder...

My evaluation

What the author has accomplished  is to give the reader an in-depth knowledge of Jimmy's mental health, and this characterizes the whole story. Normally in novellas I feel that the characters are a bit shallow, due to the fact that novellas are short stories, but in "Purity" Clegg really manages to build a very believable main character, Owen. You get drawn into Owen's world and don't think about that this is a novella. The story has a very surprising end, I like it!

The only thing I react to is that this story is classified as a horror novella. I don't think it is, even if Owen's psyke isn't actually standard business. Yes, he worships the ugly, fishlike statue Dagon and Dagon was the fishgod to the Philistines - a people who in medieval times lived by the Mediterranean - but the statue doesn't intervene in the history enough to affect it much. This is more a disastrous triangle love story with some dark undertows, well developed characters and a surprising end more than anything else. No horror, in my opinion. This is not a must-read, but a good novella. I am, however, tempted to check out some of Clegg's novels. From the reviews I have read they seem more horrorlike.

My rating

of 5

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 460 KB
Publisher: Alkemara Press (April 10, 2009)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B00267RC60

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