TRIGGER WARNING: There are descriptions of extreme horror that are not suitable for all readers. Not everyone is comfortable with humans consuming or killing other humans in explicit very detailed ways. Even when sometimes the humans are or might be demons. And what do demons look like? This novel has descriptions of demons that should not be read close to meal times although snacks during reading are up to a reader’s queasiness quotient. Sexual language is surprisingly minimal; horror, gore, and violence are at maximum throttle.
You Come When I Call You by Douglas Clegg is described as a novel of supernatural horror. That is the author’s description. I think it is a novel of extreme supernatural horror and is one of the best novels of this genre that I have read in many years (and this is my favorite genre). It has many recommendations from well-established authors in this genre which, strangely, kept me from reading it earlier. I hate to be disappointed when a novel does not live up to recommendations from my favorite authors. This novel does not disappoint. I gave the novel five Amazon stars and highly recommend it. It is good on so many levels it was hard for me to review.
I highlight items I know I want to comment on in a review. With this novel, I may have highlighted one-quarter of the book. I marked interesting characters, scene descriptions, plots and subplots, humor, reflections on the nature of existence, and writing excerpts I thought were exceptionally well done. In parts of the novel, scenes shift rapidly between characters or between past and present. Some “segments” may only have five to ten lines before moving on an entirely different setting. This makes for a fast-paced novel that is not confusing if the reader pays attention. I found the high level of suspense as I waited for humans to morph into demons and vice versa exhausting. I could not finish this in one day, something I normally do for a novel of this size. When I read something exceptional, I would stop to appreciate it. It took me three days to read this story.
This novel has so many twists and turns that almost everything could be considered a spoiler. Here is the briefest description I can come up with that I think doesn’t contain spoilers:
The time is the teenage years. Wendy is beautiful and voraciously promiscuous because she feels once she has had sex with a boy, she owns him. The ownership is complete and includes the soul because Wendy is part human and part demon. Once under Wendy’s control, the boy (and later, the man) will always feel compelled to answer her call and perform whatever actions she requires. A lot of what she requires involves human sacrifice so all the males she enslaves must kill people like their friends, family, and neighbors. Any women friends her male captives might be involved with are also under Wendy’s control, such as the almost innocent Alison, girlfriend of Peter, and co-conspirator in a plot with Charles and Nathaniel (Tan) to either kill Wendy or eliminate her power to control them.
Wendy’s ambition goes further than the control of a few individuals. She is not an independent actor. She may be a lead element in a world domination scheme. Where did Wendy come from? The answer to this question is one of the fascinating subplots of the novel. It is also why the novel ranges in time from the origins of each of the main characters, their teenage years, and then their adult years when they are called by Wendy to return to her and give back something they had stolen from her. The novel has grim stories of dysfunctional families in abusive relationships, incest, matricide, fratricide, suspected and real mental disorders, wayward priests, and unbelieving (but wanting to believe) doctors.
The Epilogue deserves a note of its own. One would think the horror had run its course. There was some sort of a conclusion. The epilogue is there to make us feel good. Readers know that this is not quite true as “the old man” makes an off-the-cuff- remark, “We never find what we look for, Peter. That would mean death. The journey never ends.” (Kindle Location 6372). At this point, readers should read further.
The novel is 486 pages and I suggest readers who like this genre check out the Amazon page for recommendations by other authors. The list is impressive. The number of characters at the beginning of the novel might be a challenge but the Kindle edition has the X-ray feature which is quite helpful in keeping the relationships straight.
This is one of my favorite novels of this reading year. Given that it is November, it ranks high among a lot of reads.