by Greg Gifune
The prologue alone sets a disturbing tone. A man with all over body burns is in the vicinity of a carnival in town and encounters some local boys, who assume he must be responsible for a little girl's murder that happened that day. It all goes downhill for them fast from there.
Then the first chapter jumps in time and the boys have grown up and gone separate ways, each affected in their own ways by the events of the beginning. Phillip, the protagonist is probably the least screwed up, but his past comes back to haunt him when the mother of one of the other boys asks for his help.
The author admits in his notes that part of this story was inspired by Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I can see the correlations, though the writing is riveting and most of it original. I'll admit that I didn't think the end measured up to the journey. I'd like to have seen something more original and unpredictable, though it served the story well enough to enjoy the read.
The horrific elements were pretty strong in places and the tension almost exhausting at times. The setting was depicted very effectively so that I felt I was there and the characters fit in well, each of them very unique. Although I didn't much like the ending, I can see why this author is becoming very popular with those who enjoy a good Horror novel. I have another of his that I'll look forward to reading soon.