I finally plucked this one off of my TBR list and I’m kicking myself for not doing it much sooner. Our story takes us back to 1984 Central Pennsylvania, as we follow the adventures of a trio of twelve-year-olds, Timmy, Doug, and Barry. The boys spend their summer hanging out in their underground clubhouse located in the unused part of a cemetery and away from their parents, some of which are abusive alcoholics. Barry’s dad is the worst of the bunch, and just so happens to be the cemetery’s caretaker. When headstones start to sink into the ground and Barry’s notoriously poor parents stop complaining about being broke and start wearing unfamiliar jewelry, the boys’ suspicions are raised. When they stumble on the car of a pair of missing teenagers hidden in the woods by the cemetery, events start to spiral out of control and they soon realize there’s more going on than some headstones sinking into the ground.
Keene weaves an effective and engrossing tale with Ghoul. The characters are so well-done and multi-layered, you can’t help but to be engaged in their exploits from cover to cover. No matter what era you grew up in, there’s something so universally familiar with the cast in Ghoul, that you’ll immediately find connections here you can relate to. And that’s where Keene is so good. The storytelling and pacing flows without a hitch, but the relatable characters are where he really gets you. Even without the horrific happenings here, you’d still want to read this story and follow the trio around for the summer.
4.5 Milky, Mucous-Lined Tunnels out of 5
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