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Isis by Douglas Clegg
Cover Artist: Glenn Chadbourne
Review by Gayle Surrette
Vanguard Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781593155407
Date: 29 September 2009 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Douglas Clegg / Show Official Info /

ISIS is one of those stories that you read and think, "Okay, a bit creepy but not that bad." Then over time that creepiness increases and you being to think about the story and it gets worse and worse the more you think about it. And then you begin to really, really hope that magic spells are just make believe and never, ever work.

Iris is a young girl, and the youngest sibling. Lewis her oldest brother barely is mentioned. The twins, Spencer and Harvard (Harvey), are night and day, mean and nice. They've all moved to their father's ancestral home on a windswept island off the coast of Cornwall from their cozy cottage on Long Island. Father is in India and their mother suffers from bouts of depression. Harvey becomes Iris's friend and confidant and together they study the lore and myths of the island--learning from the groundskeeper, servants, and their grandfather's library.

For entertainment the islanders put on plays where Iris and Harvey play Isis and Osiris --they gained nicknames at least for each other. If you know the story, you can imagine the various ways that this story could play out. However, it plays out in a manner that you'll not expect and the chills up you spine comes from just a few lines that barely are noticed until it's too late and you've read them and now they'll play in your mind long after the story is over.

I like my horror to be low-key the uneasy feeling the chill that comes when you think of the ramifications of what you just read. Clegg manages to tell an interesting story and tap into that delayed chill that gets you just when you think you're safe. It doesn't take blood and guts to scare people, it just takes making them think.

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