Author: Brandon Ford
Narrator: Mark Harrietha
When the Toller family moves in to the run-down house next door, Bailey McDaniel immediately notices strange behavior in the clan’s eldest son Glen. The pale-skinned, ginger-haired 15-year-old is aloof, prone to unforeseeable mood swings, and carries a morbid interest in the macabre. His bookshelves are lined with an array of well-worn true crime paperbacks depicting the serial and mass murders committed by a multitude of convicted madmen. It is Bailey’s overbearing mother and devoted therapist who insist that a friendship with the boy next door is worth pursuing, seeing that Bailey spent much of the past year in self-imposed isolation.
Reluctantly, Bailey heeds their advice and a friendship between he and Glen quickly materializes. It is, however, a friendship Bailey will grow to regret. As the layers peel away one by one, Bailey comes to find that Glen’s interests and obsessions are far more sinister than studying the brutal acts of those less than human and his fantasies are much darker than Bailey could’ve ever imagined. It is these fantasies that lead to the abduction of a pretty high school senior and a series of grisly murders that leave a small middle-American town bathed in blood.
So, wow. I have to start this review off by saying this book was dark. Like The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum or Killing Stalking by Koogi level dark. Not for the faint of heart.
When Bae (Bailey’s) friend Christian dies in a fire, he’s lost. His mother pushes him to do therapy and get out of his shell, worried that all the isolation is no good for him. In a desperate attempt to get him to make friends, she pushes him to talking to the new boy next door, Glen. Bae isn’t impressed and immediately thinks the likelihood of them being friends is slim to zero. Then Glen shows up at his house the next day and somehow they hit it off. Glen is weird though, and Bae first notices this when he catches sight of the true crime books on his bookshelves. Books all about serial rapist/murderers. Bae thinks little off it, but when he takes Glen to meet his friend Alison, he can tell something isn’t right about him. What he doesn’t know is that Glen is stalking Alison, and he has big plans for all of them From there, things go downhill until Bae and Glen end up in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Brandon Ford is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. After reading Open Wounds, I leapt at the opportunity to read another of his works. His books so far are all dark and deal with triggering topics such as suicide, rape, and the darker side of life. That being said, he does it in a way that brings attention to critical issues.
His characters and worldbuilding is amazing. I don’t feel like I’m reading a story, but an autobiography of someone’s actual life. Bae and Glen were both fully fledged characters, Glen especially. The progression of fledging psychopath to full on murderer was tastefully written and believable. Mr. Ford didn’t spare us any details, and that’s what makes it so realistic and hard to put down.
Very compelling work.
The narration was also well done making this an A+ production.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.