by Aric Davis
2013 Thomas and Mercer
Received an eGalley from the publisher
This story of three boys and their tree fort, is also about that quintessential summer of childhood, the one that we will always remember. But for these boys it will be one that changes them forever, one where they learn too quickly that true evil exists. And that evil lives too close to home.
The story moves quickly, letting the reader see several perspectives, including the killer. Much of the suspense comes from the unfolding of the killer's thoughts about why he kills and just how deep his psychosis runs. The detective on the case is not allowed to follow his instincts frustrating both the character and the readers with the typical politics of expediency over accuracy. But heart of the story is the boys, the ones who witness the first real break in a long unsolved case and try to do the right thing by reporting it to the police. When no one will believe them and even accuse them of making up facts for attention, they investigate on their own.
The best part of this story was the friendship between Tim, Scott, and Luke. Their families are all very different (a typical well-to-do family, one with divorced parents, and one with an alcoholic mother and no father) but they are still at an age where money and class don't matter yet. Their reactions to what they go through, the surprise, fear, hurt and anger, are well expressed. Very believable. My only problem with the story was at the end. Not with the resolution of the main plot. That was solidly done. But after all is finished. A large part of the story is from the point of view of the kids. But once one of them tells the detective who the killer is we never go back to them. The detective tells the rest of the story. Something major happens at the end and I REALLY wanted to hear from at least one of the kids, wanted to experience the emotions of the event from the kids' perspective. Otherwise, the story was just about perfect.
I still very much recommend this story and can't wait to read more of Davis' work.