We were so young when it all happened. Just 13-years-old, making the most of the long, hot, lazy days of summer, thinking we had the world at our feet. That was us – me, Fat Bobby, Jim and Tara – the four members of the Outsiders’ Club.
The day we found a burnt-out car in the woods was the day everything changed. Cold, hard cash in the front seat and a body in the trunk… it started out as a mystery we were desperate to solve.
Then, the Collector arrived. He knew we had found his secret. And suddenly, our summer of innocence turned into the stuff of nightmares.
Nothing would ever be the same again…
As a man’s recollections of a life-changing summer when he was thirteen, this story works. The authentic young teen fears, language and obsessions draw you into the mind of a thirteen-year-old. The naivety of the gang of ‘Outsiders’ is evidenced throughout the story as they encounter bullying, extreme racial and sexual prejudice and violence. Joey’s belief that his father can overcome anything is touching and in character but his actions in the face of the strange and dangerous people and events he encounters seem far more mature than his years.
The setting and characters are almost stereotypical, but again they fit with this genre of novel. So from a technical point of view, this story works, but I didn’t get invested with the characters, except in Joey’s connection with his dog Bandit which is vivid and genuine. The story’s pacing is good but everything is seen from a pre-teen point of view, and so the story didn’t enthral me. The target audience for this book is a more young adult than thriller reader, but as a debut, it is worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.