In The Scrape is a novella that made me feel as if my giant beast of a cat were sitting atop my chest trying his best to stop my heart from beating the entire time I was reading. Not too many books do that to me but put two sweet kids in peril and that’ll do the trick, I guess! This one is a nail-biter and I was incredibly worried for these kids during the entire story. That’s some kind of knock-out writing. I’m glad I’m finished so I can breathe again.
Set in the 80’s, Jacob and Matthew are two brothers plotting to run away from their abusive drunkard of a dad and escape to live with their mom who left them all years ago. Their situation hurts the heart. They’re so young and stuck in a situation that seems completely hopeless but they’re plotting and hopeful anyway. I loved that about them. Such brave and smart young kiddos.
As this is a horror novella and there is a schoolyard bully thrown into the mix, you can expect things to go sideways, plans to go awry and terrible things to happen. And they do, thus explaining the sensation of feeling like my chunker of a cat was cutting off my airway. The plot doesn’t travel down the same path as my brain assumed it would (thankfully because my thoughts were 100% bleak) but I still found myself horrified and surprised by the turn of events which I’m not gonna spoil.
This is a story about tenacity, survival, bravery and brotherly love and facing down terrible odds when those charged with protecting you are the ones you just might fear the most. This is really great, heavy stuff. Much different from the previous collaboration I read with author James Newman, Scapegoat, which had an 80’s feel and madness tinged plot but both are excellent stories. 4 ½ stars