Book: Small Things
Author: Joe DeRouen
Shawn Spencer is attending the funeral of his best friend, whose sister Jenny swears he was killed by a monster. Feeling guilty for the loss of his friend, Shawn tries to help Jenny with her grief, but comes to see that maybe she is not imagining the monster in the lake. Strange voices in his head lead him to realise that there is something very strange happening in Carthage, and he believes he may have triggered the whole messy business after breaking into an old derelict house with Tanner shortly before his death. Shawn and Jenny grow closer as more weird incidents occur, people go missing, his cat is found dead and the voices in his head become more threatening and personal. As the police are called to investigate, the local sheriff, while still suffering his own loss, is mystified to explain the events and later becomes embroiled in the plot to catch and kill the monster.
Set in a time when kids rode their bikes, went swimming in the lake and generally had the freedom to play by themselves, this story is beautifully reminiscent of the innocence of youth, first love and strong childhood friendships. It is a tale of high adventure, touching sentimentality and fast-paced horror, which defines the very personal quest of a young boy and girl, fighting off evil on their own, but with so much at stake.
This is a very quick-paced novel, the reader is thrown in at the deep end, desperate to learn more about this monster. At times the story is bloody and graphic, the monster’s actions are easily visualised, the danger is palpable and the tension is high. If this were a movie, I’d be hiding behind the sofa on several occasions! There are, however, elements of real-life sadness, grief and pain all mixed in with the emergence of new relationships, recovery and hope for the future. The characters are so well drawn, you can picture them clearly as you fly through the pages, seeking answers and instead finding more unexpected twists.
Although this is not my usual read, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was a real page-turner, leaving me totally engrossed and not able to put the book down. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series. Thank you Joe for bringing me back over to the dark side!