For as long as he can remember, Beau and his family have summered on Gull Island, visiting with his Grandma Weenie and his mother’s sister’s family. They’re there to find some peace away from the city, but there is no peace on this island, and not only because the families are at constant odds. There’s something dark and evil that exits here, and thanks to Beau’s creepy cousin, Sumnter, it’s about to come out and play.
Sumnter discovers an old shed on the grounds and claims it as their clubhouse. He calls it “Neverland,” and he and Beau spend most of their time there. But strange things happen within Neverland’s walls, including dead things, even people, coming back to life.... It’s all thanks to a presence called “Lucy,” a demon who demands the boys make sacrifices of small animals to her. So, as the adults spend their time drinking and arguing, the kids, including Beau’s twin sisters Missy and Nonie, start sneaking out at the dead of night to visit Neverland. There’s something intoxicating about what goes on inside Neverland, and the kids will do anything to keep experiencing Lucy’s magic. But when Lucy tells Sumnter she wants a bigger sacrifice, a human sacrifice, just how far will he go to keep Lucy happy?
Three pages into this book, I knew that I was going to like it. The story starts with a family on their way to Gull Island, GA for summer vacation. They're in their station wagon....two 12 year old girls (twins) a 10 year old boy, a baby, and the parents. It is a typical road trip with the kids squabbling and carrying on and their parents trying to intervene and keep the peace. This story is narrated by 10 year old Beauregard (Beau). I love stories narrated by kids.....their descriptions of things are so hilarious and true. The way he describes the members of his family, including his Grandma Weenie who is crabby, wheelchair bound, and carries and silver-handled brush on her lap that is often used for spankings, is very detailed. I could picture her in my mind, as well as the other characters. I laughed out loud several times while reading this...especially when Beau is teasing his sister about her dead hamster!
Beau's family vacations every year on Gull Island GA at his grandmother's house. His Aunt Cricket and Uncle Wayne join them, along with their son, Sumnter. Sumnter is strange, and Beau and his sisters are reluctant to join in any of his games. Sumnter chooses an old gardening shed which is strictly off-limits, to make into a clubhouse. There is a password to the clubhouse....and there is a god of the clubhouse. Before they know it, Beau and his sisters are sucked into Sumnter's weird world of games and hallucinations. He claims to have a god by the name of Lucy, in a crate in the clubhouse. Lucy must be fed....and by fed, he means sacrifices. The kids go along with Sumnter for awhile, but then things start to get out of hand. One evening they all experience "flying" up into the sky, and Sumnter begins to sacrifice small animals to Lucy's crate. From inside the crate there are sounds of scratching and growling. Sumnter swears the other kids to secrecy, but Beau confides in his mother about what's been going on.....but did he let her know too late? Lucy is expecting a very large and promising sacrifice; a human sacrifice; and she has asked Beau to get it for her so that she can come out to play.
This Southern-Gothic type horror story is one of the best that I have ever read. It kind of reminds me of Boys Life by Robert McCammon, which is one of my favorites. Douglas Clegg does an excellent job weaving this twisted tale. I highly recommend horror lovers everywhere to check this out.
Vanguard Press (2010), Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN 0671672797, Paperback