The first thing I want to say about this book is that Stephen Glick is a surviving stroke victim, and at the front of all of his books, he lists the warning signs of an oncoming stroke. This could potentially save somebody’s life, and I think it’s an amazingly public-spirited thing to do. It bears no relevance to the story, but I think it’s great.
While this is a horror story, we have a bit of everything in here. We read through the narrative of Simon, a young lad growing up in the seventies. Following two branches of his family, we are taken through a disturbing time as it is apparent that there’s something wrong with Joey.
The locations are stunning as the family splits to have one half living in the area around Lake Michigan and the other on Lake Superior.
It’s a coming-of-age/horror story, and the author pulls no punches. We have two branches of teenage cousins, four on one side and two—one of which is our narrator, Simon—on the other. Joey is gifted a mask that affects his personality—but the interesting thing about this story is that Joey has gone horribly wrong long before he’s given the mask. The social question is; did the mask have any relevance to the unfolding madness? Nature or dark forces?
The description is beautiful. I loved the state fair and carnival scenes. I’m sure I got a whiff of hotdogs as I read.
Glick is the master of the one-liner, and there are some fantastic analogies, similies and observational sentences of description. For instance, what is the difference between a ship and a boat?—if a boat can carry a boat, then it can call itself a ship. Isn’t that lovely? Flawed, because a little boat could carry a littler boat and still be a little boat, but lovely. This author is funny, and I laughed out loud at one point, Watch out for a hand reaching for a light switch when our heroes are going after Samuel’s tribe.
Each character is beautifully drawn, and the reader comes to know them well, and even when they do some terrible things, you can’t help rooting for them.
The story is intricate, deep and rich. Tragedy follows the family, and one bad apple can turn the rest of the crop. A brilliant story of a family suffering unimaginable horrors.
Cracking book, It’s light and deep and fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.