by Dave Wickenden
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Pub Date 30 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 29 Sep 2020
Fourteen-year-old Daniel and his friends enjoyed the best that childhood could offer during the summer of 1975 in a northern mining town until someone started brutally killing family pets. Daniel, who wants nothing more than be the hero from his books, convinces his friends to help search for the ‘sicko’, but this only brings him to the attention of the killer. When evidence surfaces that points at Daniel as the killer and his two friends turn against him, he soon realizes that there is much more to being a hero than what he has read. Running away from home, he enlists two seniors and a neighborhood bully to help trap the real killer.
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 2 members
I would recommend this book to pre-teen and early teen readers, especially boys. There is some swearing and violence but no more so than video games or movies. The book is worth reading as it gives you a glace into what it was like growing up in Ontario in the 70's (LIKE ME). It also tells us that you can grow up in many different ways and a strong point of the book is that it is written in such honesty. You can easily put yourself in Daniel's place.
I think Dave Wickenden succeeded on the whole. He tells the story in a kids way, although there is a serious background behind the story. He didn't forget to install creepy experiences and that's what makes the book so fascinating and it was easy to read. I liked it very much, because the author didn't try to lengthen the story by any means. It's written just as it happened to Daniel and his friends and doesn't lose any detail. I expected the book to be about friendship and I was right.
It was much better than I expected it to be. I thought that the book would be more horrifying, but if you put yourself in the place of a fourteen-year-old, it was creepy enough.
Sudbury, Ontario in 1975. "An era where kids played outside from dawn to dusk". Back-pockets were made for carrying slingshots, playing War was a totally acceptable summer activity, the Encyclopedia Britannica was the final word on factual information and smoking the occasional stolen cigarette was just something kids did.
The summer that begins the transition from middle school to high school finds 14-year-old Daniel Dixon and his buddies, Rico and Lenny, searching for a secret pond that may or may not exist. Dodging gangs from other neighborhoods and playing games at the local activity center with other neighborhood kids including tomboy Susie Fibbits. Through (bad) luck and happenstance Daniel finds himself enmeshed in the middle of a recent crime spree involving stolen property and animal torture. Wrongly accused and out to prove his innocence Daniel finds the odds are against him when even his friends start to turn on him.
I'm not sure if this is intended to be for Young Adult/Teen readers or a book of nostalgic adult fiction. It has aspects of both but doesn't completely belong in either category. The first half feels more like a novel about kids written for adults while the second half is more solidly in the teen realm.
There is some description of animal cruelty (torture), a dozen or so instances of cursing (including two or three F-bombs), and drug use. I wouldn't recommend this book for anyone under 14-years-old and even then it could be disturbing to some readers.
***I received a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.