I’m slowly making a dent in my Kindle’s stash of books I bought or downloaded 6-8 years ago. This is one of those, I cannot remember how I got it or what made me decide to buy it, but there it was. As I forget why I got certain books, I’m starting to treat my Kindle as a box of chocolates and just pick something at random, especially when I’m travelling.
It is a coming of age story mixed with a thriller, not necessarily my cup of tea (I’m not a fan of YA, though this one does not fully fit the profile), but I finished it nonetheless. It is a story about the summer when Tim, Scott and Luke have finished building their fort. We’re in 1987, the boys shoot their air rifles pretending to be fighting in Vietnam, the summer if hot and it looks like it is going to be a great vacation.
Until Tim’s older sister comes back from a night out with her friends, clearly distraught. Next thing we know a girl from the neighbourhood, Molly, is missing. The teenagers tell a story, that the police is not buying, but there is no way to disprove it. To add to the terror there is a series of prostitute killings taking place. Everyone is worried about Molly.
Then one day while in the fort, playing with a real gun they borrowed from one of the father’s arsenal, the boys see a girl looking like Molly with a man carrying a gun. They tell the story to their parents and the police, but it is rejected as a figment of childish imagination. The boys take it hard, they also feel they should do something to save Molly, especially that the adults do not seem to be doing enough.
All the time we are also getting the narrative from Molly’s captor, which is a lot more brutal and rough. Showing us how uneven the potential fight would be. All this leads to the climax, where the boys stop trusting their parents, the parents do not trust their children, the police stops trusting evidence and no one can see what’s in front of their eyes.
It had the potential for a good story, but the execution is mediocre. In a way, it reminded me of a more real version of It, with the perfect summer, the danger and the rift between the world of children and the world of adults. But it comes nowhere near It in terms of atmosphere, prose, imagery, anything really, in comparison it falls flat on its face. Mind you it is an ambitious comparison we’re talking about here, but then we should always measure ourselves against the best. This one is not the best.