The saga of young Chris Buckley continues in the second volume of the Solitary Tales series.
Once fearful, 16-year-old Chris is now filled with rage at friend Jocelyn’s death. The spooky state of affairs in his adopted hometown of Solitary, N.C., hasn’t gotten any better. Both Chris and his alcoholic mother, Tara, are attacked by unidentified assailants, and though he’s been warned time and again, Chris is determined to ditch complacency and take action. A young man named Jared, claiming to be a cousin, takes Chris under his wing, advising him to “lie low” and confide in him. At Harrington High, Chris joins the track team and takes an art class, where he grows closer to fellow junior Kelsey Page. Yet Chris feels it’s a mistake for anyone to be involved with him: They’ll only get hurt. Incidents with bully Gus Staunch escalate, along with threats from Gus’ father, Ichor. Former friend Rachel is gone—supposedly she moved, like a lot of other residents who’ve been threatened and sabotaged until leaving town becomes the best option. Chris longs for the normalcy of his pre-Solitary life in Chicago, and when he gets a job at the isolated Crag’s Inn, his finances greatly improve and things might be turning around. In addition to his slow-boiling anger at Tara’s psychological meltdown, Chris encounters malevolence at nearly every turn; even the town church has a coffin that may contain the undead. He again feels the stirrings of young love, grapples with betrayal, questions his disbelief in God and considers violent action that would have been unthinkable in his former life. Gradually, it dawns upon Chris that he may have a date with destiny and perhaps a spiritual purpose amid the mayhem. As in the first book, Thrasher adroitly mixes elements of horror and high school in equally terrifying measures. And thanks to Internet access, Chris can now receive super creepy emails.
A solid, suspenseful follow-up to the mesmerizing debut.