The Boy Who Drew Monsters; Keith Donohue
Picador - 2014
In a wintery, seacoast town in Maine, for 10 year-old Jack Peter Keenan, life is anything but normal. Three years earlier Jack and his friend nearly drowned in the ocean there, and now Jack protests if he is forced outdoors for any reason. To complicate his life even more, Jack suffers from some form of autism, but his friend Nick is patient and loyal.
Lately Jack has taken to drawing monsters, and at the same time strange things seem to be happening in and or around the Keenan house. Jack's father, Tim, runs around outdoors chasing strange sightings, and quite honestly, at times I thought of Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining". The mother Holly fears her son is losing control and at times has even been violent, hitting her when she frightens him. Oddly, she turns to a local priest and a Japanese gardener for input when she and her husband do not seem to see things the same way when it comes to Jack.
For the most part the story kept me engaged and left me wondering as I read, what was real and what was imagined. The bleak winter setting on the cold, desolate Maine coast was a perfect for this story, and there were many elements of strange happenings throughout the book. One thing I didn't care for, and felt it only served to distract from the core story, were tales of shipwrecks and ghosts which was told secondhand by the priest and gardener. Overall a good story; readers who like creepy stories should give this one a try, especially in the cold, dead of winter.