The Thief of Always is a 1992 Clive Barker horror novel, intended for children but easily readable by adults. I found it enjoyable enough. It would've been a nice book to have around when the kids were young for them to read in October as an introduction to horror novels. I wish I had found it back then. It reminded me just a bit of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.
from the back of the book:
Mr. Hood's Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles where every childhood whim can be satisfied. There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood's wonders, does not stop to consider the consequences. It is only when the house shows its darker face -when Harvey discovers the pitiful creatures that dwell in its shadows- that he comes to doubt Mr. Hood's philanthropy.Kirkus Reviews says, "The House is a splendid conceit, but Harvey (Barker's first child hero) is as real as a Norman Rockwell kid". Thursday Review says, "The Thief of Always is one of the few horror novels that can easily be shared with young children, or the young at heart. The story-telling is swift, neat, and accompanied by illustrations from Clive Barker himself." Dreadful Tales recommends it in their review. Green Man Review thinks it may be too disturbing for children.
But the house and its mysterious architect are not about to release their captive without a battle. Mr. Hood has ambitions for his new guest, for Harvey's soul burns brighter than any he has encountered in ten centuries...