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Monday, 17 December 2018

Book Review: December Park by Ronald Malfi

In the fall of 1993, in the quiet suburb of Harting Farms, children begin vanishing and one is found dead. Vowing to stop the Piper’s reign of terror, five boys take up the search.


“No retreat, baby, no surrender”

There’s just something very special about coming-of-age tales, isn’t there? I think it’s because they invoke such overwhelming nostalgia and it’s a trope that most people can relate to. December Park fits nicely into the same category as Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night, Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life, Stephen King’s IT and even his novella The Body as well.

I wouldn’t classify this one as a straight-up horror novel, it’s intention isn’t to scare or unsettle - it’s more about the relationships our main protagonist, Angelo, has formed with his father, grandfather, brother and the kids in his friendship circle. Malfi has included some really beautiful and touching scenes here, particularly between Angelo and his father. And I’m a goddamn sucker for those child-parent moments!

It’s a slow burn as the kids ride around on their bikes and try to carry out their own investigation into the serial killer in their small town - the one who has become known as The Piper. It’s not action-packed until the last quarter or so, when you simply can’t put the book down as everything comes to a head. And Malfi does actually throw in a few chilling moments in the final part as well!

I cannot let this review pass without commenting on how fucking cool Angelo is and how much we need to be friends. He is CONSTANTLY listening to Bruce Springsteen and he loves reading horror and watching slashers, and I am trying not to be offended by sharing so much in common with a 15 year old boy... The Springsteen references just had me geeking out on another level!

I shed a few tears towards the end as well... This book really had it all for me. I can’t recommend it enough! One of my fave books of the year! 5 stars.

Johann
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