We meet Jake as a brain surgeon, talking about memories and how our minds mold and shape them. It's an excellent framework for a coming of age story, set in Cataract City, (or Niagara Falls to the rest of us.) So let's get on with it, shall we?
As Jake struggles with school and the inevitable bully he meets brother and sister, Dove and Billy. They all become friends just in time for summer and the stage is set. Enter Uncle C and his weird curiosity shop and his Batphone. From which come calls originating from all over the country about weird and odd sights, happenings, hauntings and so forth. Uncle C and friends set out on Saturday nights to investigate local rumors and legends and everybody has a good time. Until they don't. What happens during these Saturday night outings? How did things go wrong? You'll have to read this to see.
I realize that I am one of the few people who didn't give this book 5 stars. This is why in two words: BOY'S LIFE. It was written by Robert McCammon and it's my favorite book of all time. I just couldn't help but compare the two, and BOY'S LIFE always came out ahead. But it's not just the comparison, it's the fact that there is a paragraph in this book that even uses some of the same phrases from my favorite quote of all time. That bothered me. It bothered me a lot.
That said, I did enjoy this tale. I found it not only to be nostalgic, as all good coming of age tales are, but I also found it to be poignant and sad. I did enjoy where the story took me, though I did guess, (for the most part), the dark secret that was revealed. I would have liked to have learned more about some of the characters, especially Dove, who had some secrets of her own. But this book was so short, I didn't feel that I got to know the characters as much as I would have liked.
Perhaps BOY'S LIFE has ruined all coming of age tales for me? Then again, I'm not sure of that, because I have enjoyed a few of them from independent authors lately and they all scored higher than this one for me. Perhaps it was only the similarities between this novel and my favorite book that disallowed me from becoming fully invested? Yeah, that's the reason I'm going with. Either way, this was a fun, (though poignant), quick read, and I enjoyed it!
*Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*