Monday, January 4, 2010

Nine - The Shadow Year

***Full disclosure: This book was provided for free by Harper Collins ***

Long Island - 1960s - end of the summer - two brothers are getting ready for school to start again. One night they hear a woman scream so loud that night opens wide enough for "the shadow year" to slip in.

A prowler is said to be in the neighborhood. The boys, their sister Mary and their dog George investigate and track clues. They find a shoe print and save it in a shoebox for the police. Jim - the older of the two boys - has a replica of their town - which they call Botch Town - in their basement. He sets up a prowler figure within the neighborhood. As more sitings occur, the boys track the prowler's movement. Soon they come to realize that their "crazy" sister Mary is moving the figurines within Botch Town the same way as incidents are happening in real life.

As the school year continues, the boys keep investigating more and more strange events. They also investigate a man dressed in all white, who smokes a pipe and drives a white car. They call him "Mr. White." Mr. White follows the main character (whose name is never given!) around the town - very creepily. At one point, Mr. White attacks the main character in an alley, but is stopped by the boy's grandfather.

The boys befriend an older neighborhood boy - Ray - who has been following Mr. White around town to make sure this creepy guy doesn't hurt any other townsfolk. Mr. White is suspected of killing a young boy Charlie and an older neighborhood man Mr. Barzita. Eventually with the help of Ray - who turns out to be a ghost - the boys trap Mr. White in a courtyard that has no exits. The police come and arrest him and slowly and the shadow year disappears.

This book was kinda Stephen King like. The Mr. White character definite was described so well that I could feel his creepiness oozing out of the book. I was originally interested in this book due to a post on the Library Love Fest blog after the author won a World's Fantasy Award for the book. Definitely fantasy is not my first choice, but it was interesting to read the sequence of events from a sixth grade boy's point of view. The prose was easy to read and I finished this book in just two days.

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