Breeder by Douglas Clegg

Shame! Shame on me--I had never read Douglas Clegg until last year when I saw Goat Dance at a used bookstore and thought, "Hey! We're Facebook friends." That novel blew me away. How I'd gone so long without Clegg, I had no idea but knew that was remedied.

My next Clegg was this one, Breeder. I had no doubt that I'd like it--Goat Dance had a clarity and might that couldn't have been a fluke. But Breeder was better than I could have imagined. Bold and daring like Barker's Books of Blood, Breeder presents amazing imagery, gore, dread, flashes of humor, and a true human story. The characters of Breeder lived and breathed, building the framework on which the horror hangs. There's a 70s vibe to Breeder, but unlike Burnt Offerings (for example) Clegg weaves his character development into the quickly appearing horror. We don't need to wade through a third of the book to get to know these people.

A comparison to Rosemary's Baby is inevitable, and the nods to Levin's classic are clever and reverent. But times have changed, and Clegg wields a hammer (reference intended) as well as a scalpel, and Breeder is just downright brutal! Where lesser horror novels dance around what may happen, Breeder fulfills every promise. It's a thoroughly satisfying read with no lulls, only ever-increasing horror.

Phenomenal novel! Five Dweller Heads!

Review by Michael Schutz


Michael Schutz

Michael Schutz was born and raised in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, where the macabre tales of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King kept him warm at night. He’s seen way too many horror movies to be healthy and blogs and podcasts about them on Darkness Dwells. Watch for his new novel, Edging, from Burning Willow Press in spring 2017. He is the author of the novel Blood Vengeance and the novella Uninoch. His short fiction has been featured most recently in Dark Moon Digest, Sanitarium, and the anthologies Beasts: Revelations, Beyond the Nightlight, and Cranial Leakage: Tales from the Grinning Skull. He lives with his three naughty cat-children in northern California.