Female. Married; children: four.
Ghost House, Bantam (New York, NY), 1979.
Ghost House Revenge, Bantam (New York, NY), 1981.
Ghost Light, Bantam (New York, NY), 1982.
What about the Baby?, Bantam (New York, NY), 1983.
Somebody Come and Play, Tor (New York, NY), 1987.
Addison House, Avon (New York, NY), 1988.
Come Down into Darkness, Corgi (London, England), 1989.
Hear the Children Calling …, Onyx (New York, NY), 1990.
Cries of the Children …, Onyx (New York, NY), 1992.
There He Keeps Them Very Well, Tor (New York, NY), 1994, published as The Evil That Christy Knows, Severn House (Sutton, Surrey, England), 1995.
Stage Fright, Tor (New York, NY), 1995.
Good Night, Sweet Angel, Tor (New York, NY), 1996.
Blood Relations, Tor (New York, NY), 1997.
Clare McNally has made a career of writing novels that revolve in some way around children in jeopardy, and maintains a particular focus on old-fashioned ghost stories. Her earliest books, Ghost House and Ghost House Revenge, recount the strange occurrences in an old house on Long Island. In the first book, the Van Buren family moves in only to discover that their new home is haunted. Small, disturbing pranks quickly escalate into ghostly possession, terrifying the family. In the sequel, Derek Miller and his daughter move into the Van Buren house, which is supposedly now devoid of spirits, to find that a new ghost has taken over. Miller's daughter is soon possessed by the spirit and a series of suspicious accidents takes place, eventually driving everyone from the house. Ghost Light involves the ghost of a young girl, who was killed in a fire at a theater. She haunts the scene of her death, killing people until she eventually confronts the reincarnation of her own father.
McNally's more recent books show her growth as a writer; while she revisits some earlier themes, she does so with increased subtlety and creates characters that are more well rounded, according to some reviewers. Somebody Come and Play, which St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers contributor Don D'Ammassa called "a major leap forward for McNally, the first of her ghost stories to generate its greatest impact with subtlety," involves a young girl luring children to their deaths in a mysterious, deserted house. A contributor to S.F. Chronicle remarked that the novel is "fast moving, engrossing, and frequently chilling." Maintaining a firm foothold in the realm of horror, Good Night, Sweet Angel, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, is a "vivid portrayal of a twisted, child-molesting father trying to ravage his daughter from the grave" that "is enough to give any reader nightmares."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Publishers Weekly, April 10, 1981, review of Ghost House Revenge, p. 66; July 15, 1983, review of What about the Baby?, p. 49; April 1, 1995, review of Good Night, Sweet Angel, p. 70.
S.F. Chronicle, April, 1988, review of Somebody Come and Play, p. 57.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1996, review of Stage Fright, p. 385.
Fantastic Fiction Web site,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (October 27, 2004), "Clare McNally."*