When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
Three and a half stars: A creepy atmospheric tale that falters a bit with lack of detail and depth.
Stephen is in Hell! He was forced to move from Denver, Colorado to Spencer, Michigan, a town with only 816 people. Worse, Stephen and his father have to live with his grandma who doesn't like him, and insists on ordering both Stephen and his father to do all kinds of chores. Immediately, Stephen notices something not quite right about the town, and the longer he stays, the more he wonders if there is a sinister presence in town or is it just overactive imaginations fueled by hundreds of years of urban legend?
What I Liked:
- I loved that this book plunged me into a creepy atmosphere with a solid mystery. The town of Spencer from the get go screams that something is not quite right, but what is really going on is a mystery. The more Stephen digs, the stranger things become. Are there truly large winged birds preying upon the town or is it just overactive imaginations? This book is atmospheric and creepy and it reminded me a bit of a Stephen King tale.
- Stephen is the protagonist. I enjoy a good male main character, and Stephen was solid. I liked his humor and sarcasm, and I appreciated his courage, and that in the end, in he tried to do the write thing.
- The overall mystery is engaging and suspenseful. I liked the unsettling feeling that prevailed throughout the book. In the end, it isn't cut and dried as to what was really happening in the town, and usually that would bother me, but in this case it worked.
- The writing is good, and I thought that Ms. Brewer did a great job with her characters, story and with the atmospheric tension.
- The ending is fast, furious and filled with some shocking reveals. There is a big twist that caught me off guard, and I liked it.
- This book is perfect for those who love a creepy read that isn't over the top scary. It is more a book with a creepy mystery and an unsettling atmosphere that will keep you guessing until the final pages.
And The Not So Much:
- For me, the book faltered a bit because of its quick pace. Normally, I enjoy a fast paced book, but unfortunately in this case, the rapid movement of the story left out too many details that I was itching to know. I would have loved to see the author slow down and take her time to really explore the town and the inhabitants. In doing so, she could have notched up the creepy atmosphere and made it even more impactful. Furthermore, I would have loved more detail and information on the mysterious Winged Ones. More of the history of the town with the Winged Ones was needed. I also wanted to understand Stephen's grandmother better. Why was she so standoffish with her own son and grandson? Finally, I was disappointed that there was not further information regarding Stephen's mother. What really led to her mental unbalance?
- After the dust settled at the end, I felt the ending was a bit rushed. There is this dramatic confrontation, a startling death, and then there is just a brief snippet on the aftermath. I was left wanting to know so much more. I don't know if this is a stand alone or if there will be another, I truly hope another book is in the works because I feel there is more story to be told.
- I didn't like that the book opened with the dramatic final scene. The reader is tipped off as to what is going to happen at the end so it isn't a surprise.
Cemetery Boys is an engaging and thrilling suspenseful novel with a creepy atmosphere and paranormal mystery. I was riveted to the story and flew through the book, and while I enjoyed the story overall, I was left wanting a bit more detail and depth to the story. Still it is a good, fast paced read for those who love an atmospheric tale.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.