Book and Author Details: This book is scheduled to be released in May 2014. I received an advanced review copy from the publishing company.
Description from Author:
In the fall of 1993, the quiet suburb of Harting Farms is shocked when children begin to vanish, and one is found dead near December Park—a great, sweeping expanse that is sunken below the streets and surrounded on three sides by vast woodlands—a place children believe is haunted.
Newspapers call the abductor the Piper because he has come to lead children away, while kids whisper darker names for him in the school halls.
Angelo Mazzone and his friends discover a link to the dead girl and take up the search for the killer, vowing to stop the Piper’s reign of terror. Their teenage pledge becomes a journey of self-discovery and an odyssey into the darkness of their own hometown.
FIRST BOOK TO HIT MY 2014 BEST OF BOOK LIST!!
It’s going to be too hard to top this one. This was THE BEST BOOK to kick off the New Year with.
Now that I have had the chance to read an advanced copy of “December Park”, I truly feel that the previous two were stepping stones into the mind and writing styles of Ronald Malfi. They were the meat and bones to cut my baby teeth on. December Park was so much more than a story to me, it was life itself. To me, it was very “Stand By Me” meets “Kings of Summer“, and in one brief moment, very very “A Christmas Story.”
I am now totally a fan girl. I am so in love with the author’s word usage and ability to build a new world around me with each page. His writing and stories remind me very much of my early reading years reading the first Dean Koontz book, “Servants of Twilight.” I am going to eagerly devour all the books from Mr. Malfi that I can get my chubby fingers on.
There are so many wonderful things to say about this book, and because I tend to get rather ADHD when it comes to books I am eagerly emphatic about, I am going to list them out.
1. Writing style.
Holy smeg! Malfi is truly gifted when it comes to writing. I literally went from anger, sadness, eagerness, sadness, suspense in waiting, page turning, up ALL NIGHT (even though it was on a work night) just to get to the end. I had to know who the Piper was. But more so, I had was so attracted to the characters, scenery, town and troubles that I felt that I was “there.” So realistic. It was like reading the journal of a real teenager. I had to know what was going to happen to them all. I actually had a momentary breakdown when I finished the book. I did not want their book lives to end. I need to know more. I want to watch them grow up, become men. The epilogue, however, was so elegantly written it was all the closure I really needed.
It’s almost as if Ronald dipped into my life as a teenager and wrote about the perceived “hoodlums” I was friends with. Each of us looking sloppy and slovenly, like they just did not care anymore, but in reality we were the most loyal bunch of kids. This is exactly how I saw Angie and his gang, even the awkward Adrian.
I love the characters in this book. I love the relationships, their idiosyncrasies, their strengths and weaknesses. Most of all, I love that they remind me of a day and age when I too thought I was invincible. From the mention of Seattle Grunge fashion to the death of Nirvana, all very fresh in my almost 40yr old mind. I remember each of the bands, music, clothing, and Kirk Cobain like I just stepped out of my high school yesterday. SO WELL WRITTEN!
I love how much work Mr. Malfi put into this novel. It’s as if he reached into his childhood and shared what was deep in his psyche. Everything from the structuring of sentences to the poetic written illustrations to the relationships between friends, enemies and parents. Angie, reminds me a lot of my son, who is now 17. I see the clumsiness of being that awkward age. That fine line that is drawn in life when you morph from curious wide eyed child taking on the world to seeing, witnessing and feeling too much that eventually matures you into adult. I see the boys in this novel trying so hard to keep that intrigue and curiosity. SO DAMNED WELL WRITTEN.
4. Twists and turns.
I had no freaking clue that’s who the Piper was going to be. No clue. Incredibly well done. I was so busy worrying and wondering about the boys, that I never seen the ending come the way it did. I was completely captivated from the “evidence” they found. I too was curious about who they had on their suspect list. I was for sure it was that cop following them. But much to my surprise, NOTHING was predictable about this book. Well, maybe one thing. That douche’ bag Keener.
This is just an aesthetic “negative” if you will. It wasn’t until I was half way through the second “book” in the novel that I realized the chapters had titles that were pertinent to the story itself. The chapter numbers are written out in a larger font than the title below it. I would switch that around. It makes it more eye catching and noticeable. I rarely pay attention to what chapter I’m on. If the author is creative enough to title each chapter, I’d rather see the title more so than the chapter number.