Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
The Infinite by Douglas Clegg is the final novel in the Harrow House trilogy that includes The Nightmare House and Mischief. Think of this particular book as a tribute to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Richard Matheson’s Hell House.
The story continues a year or so after the burning of Harrow Academy–where Mischief left off. The house itself wasn’t destroyed in the fire that took the lives of several students…only the sections that had been built on to it to accommodate the student population when it was turned into an academy.
Since the fire, Harrow House has claimed the life of a sixteen-year-old girl who died of a heart attack while she and her friends spent the night in it to see if the house was really haunted. Now, Ivy Martin (the former girlfriend of Jim Hook’s late brother in Mischief) has purchased Harrow House and has spent a large sum of money to renovate the place in an effort to get it back to its original condition. She has also hired a small team of psychics (Frost Crane, Chet Dillinger and Cali Nytbird), led by Jack Fleetwood, to investigate the powers of the house and hopefully to open a portal into the afterlife so that she can once again reunite with the person she loved so deeply.
All three of the psychics have their own personal problems and dark secrets to deal with, and this will have a direct bearing on what happens to them inside Harrow House. Jack Fleetwood, who’s in love with Ivy, is perhaps the most normal of the team…certainly the nicest. Jack’s albatross, however, is his teenage daughter, Mira, who has accompanied him to this mansion of darkness in order to get out of school for a week. This will definitely be a vacation she won’t soon forget.
Not one of these people suspects the danger they’re in as the house lures them into a state of complacency and then begins to gradually play upon their fears and weaknesses, until it’s too late and the killing starts with a vengeance.
Prepare yourself for a high body count!
While not as tense and suspenseful as The Haunting of Hill House, nor as violent and sexual as Hell House, Douglas Clegg’s novel is still an excellent addition to the “haunted house” genre. He creates a dark, morbid atmosphere within the confines of Harrow House, easing the reader forward to the evitable outcome of death and destruction. Each of the characters is written with detail to the nuances that make us human, if not very likable.
Since the house is really the star of the novel, I wish Mr. Clegg hadn’t spent the first 140 pages dealing with the history of the three psychics, but rather have started off the novel with their arrival at Harrow House and then filled in the background information as the story moved along. More time could therefore have been spent inside the house where all of the fun actually takes place.
I loved the recorded history of Harrow House as presented in the diary of Estaban Palliser (a.k.a. Justin Gravesend) and in The Infinite Ones by Isis Claviger. I found myself drawn into these two writings more deeply than I would’ve expected, wanting to learn in greater detail about the people mentioned (such as Matilde Gravesend and Aleister Crowley, as well as Crowley’s wife, Rose Kelly, and his lover, Victor Neuburg). I hope Mr. Clegg will one day present the complete text of Isis Claviger’s book. That would make a most intriguing story.