The Boys Are Back In Town
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By Christopher Golden
Distributed By: Bantam Books
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
Upon completing the final page of The Boys Are Back In Town, a novel by Christopher Golden, I believe my heart just shivered a little. I am not one of those people who get truly unnerved and jumpy while reading a good horror novel, but this was a doozy because it was real. Take away all the supernatural circumstances, and what you’ve got in this book is a thriller-a true story of insanity and vengeance in a small town. But perhaps I should start at the beginning…
The Boys Are Back In Town is the story of Will James, a somewhat successful writer for a Boston tabloid who is avoiding his ten year high school reunion like the plague. Sure, it would be nice to see Ashleigh, the girl who had grown up right next door to him and had since been his dearest friend. Just as good as it would be to see her husband Eric, and the friends they had grown up with-Nick, Danny, and Mike. But there were also people that Will doesn’t want to deal with-one, being Caitlyn, his high school sweetheart who left him at the altar, and the other being Brian, his ex-best friend, whom he had a falling out with and can’t seem to place why.
After much prodding from Ashleigh, Will shows and is even having a good time. But his newfound anxiety to see his old buddies, leads him to make a faux pas like no other. He asks where his friend Mike is—only to discover that he died in their senior year, the victim of a hit and run. Will is grief-stricken and confused. If Mike died, then why can he remember the e-mails they exchanged a week ago? And if he didn’t, then why can he also remember Mike’s funeral, plain as day?
Troubled by his own conflicting memories and the fact that more and more terrible and violent things seem to be happening by the moment, Will can see that his friends and his past are changing before his eyes. But is he going insane? Or is the secret that he and Brian have kept from everyone, including themselves, for all these years coming back to haunt him?
A master of horror and suspense, Christopher Golden does no less than leave you perched on the edge of your seat as you desperately try to unravel the mystery of this novel before Will does. As a reader, I was taken on a severely bumpy ride as Will tried to solve the mystery of his past, all the while hoping the present will return to what he remembers—what he believes to be the true course of nature.
While leading us through a harrowing journey, Golden creates characters that sing with reality and make us remember our high school days. The characters may be crass at times, cruel at others, and sweet at others, but who hasn’t had a high school experience like this one….
…well, without all the supernatural, anyway.
All in all, The Boys Are Back In Town is an interesting and complex read, well-written and truthful to it’s core. As far as roller coaster rides go, this one is well worth the price of admission.
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