By Douglas Clegg
Clegg’s latest novella goes beyond expectations and offers a creeping tale of the highest caliber told the way only Clegg’s distinctive voice can. The real strength here isn’t what’s being described, as provocative as that is, but rather what’s been left to simmer beneath the surface of this everyday world we’ve been cast into, a world much like our own. In this world with its rising social pressures to fit in and be liked, many is the people who’ve gone to extreme measures for the sake of a good impression and the chance to feel accepted, important, if not downright popular.
But, what if, like our main character, Harold, you were so disenchanted by your demeaning job and various socially awkward situations you begin seeing things you’re certain nobody else sees? And, what if, like Harold, despite projecting a contorted impression of confident calm to his best friend, Margaret, you discover how to create the perfect image everyone prefers you to be? What if you could finally identify the familiar face in the crowd, the face nobody else sees which speaks only to you? Would you follow it on a whim, so desperate for its secrets you’re willing to overlook any hideous truths you might encounter?
As The Faces start to reveal themselves, Harold realizes his greatest fears have been in front of him, watching, all along. He must choose between the embodiment of his every wish or digress back into his natural self and inevitably lose it all. A subliminal immersion of wonder and dread, Clegg’s approach all but demands speculation beyond the written page. A suspenseful tale of mounting terror that’s apt to burrow into your subconscious long enough to make you linger a bit longer over the next familiar face you spot in the crowd.
This review first appeared in Rue Morgue Magazine issue #193
Pick up your copy of The Faces right HERE!