I got sucked into the works of Brian Keene, with his book The Rising. Ever since then, I’ve sought him out and have loved every single one I’ve read. Just recently, I turned the last page on Ghoul and I, of course, highly enjoyed it. If I was to describe the book in only a few words, I would say it was like I was reading something that managed to combine all the elements that I loved about the movies Stand by Me and IT (don’t judge, but I haven’t read the books, just seen the movies). If that piques your interest, read on to see why you should read it right now…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: June 1984. Timmy Graco is looking forward to summer vacation, taking it easy and hanging out with his buddies. Instead his summer will be filled with terror and a life-and-death battle against a nightmarish creature that few will believe even exists. Timmy learns that the person who’s been unearthing fresh graves in the cemetery isn’t a person at all. It’s a thing. And it’s after Timmy and his friends. If Timmy hopes to live to see September, he’ll have to escape the…GHOUL.
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Review: The nice thing about Ghoul, is that it isn’t all about the horror. Instead, Brian Keene takes some time to get to know the three kids and the joy of a summer vacation as a youth. That wonderful time when you had the whole world in front of you and the endless days of hot sun and good times with friends, was always a top priority. We spend a good portion of the book learning all about the good and bad times these three boys are having, the adventures they make up, the troubles they put up with at home and the strong bond of a child friendship, that seems like it could never be broken.
The troubles with the book that I’d like to mention, is that it can be fairly tough to read and I don’t mean the writing. Brian Keene deals with abuse, both physical and sexual and this can be tough, but on the flip side, makes you more invested in these kids and heightens the tension tenfold when the crap does hit the fan. Bravo Keene, on not taking the easy route.
Now of course, the book is called Ghoul, so obviously we do get to enjoy a good amount of violence and gore, thanks to the mysterious beast that lives in the local cemetery. The back story provided on the ghoul is minimal, but effective and the end battle is quite enjoyable, with a few twists and turns I didn’t see coming. The actual ending of the book hit me quite hard and makes you realize that more often than not, we end up being more like our parents than we sometimes want to be and no matter how hard we try, time is the most brutal of beasts.
Verdict: Ghoul is full of adventures/challenges with three young kids, who are just trying to enjoy their summer, but are interrupted when a ghoul makes its presence known in their local stomping grounds. If that doesn’t entice you to check it out, than I guess you must be a ghoul yourself.