Plans to study for the SAT go horribly wrong when they are interrupted by a golfer cult’s demon-summoning plot in this comic YA horror novel.
Bing and Ron Slaughter are identical twins and half of the Ephits, a punk band (formerly the Angry Red Welts). Bing is the frontman and songwriter, and Ron plays bass. They’ve got to do well on their SATs to get into good schools. Otherwise, it’s goodbye to their parents’ financial support and hello to careers at McDonald’s, where Mr. and Mrs. Slaughter work as operational planners. Maybe it’s not the best idea to study at a remote cabin in the woods the night before the SATs with the other Ephits, Prathamesh “Meat” Kimitri (drummer) and Kaitlyn Krimpsen (keyboard), but that’s the plan. Things soon go awry when a monster lightning storm strikes, cutting off the power, and the twins’ history teacher, Mr. Brom, pounds on the cabin door wielding a dagger—which has a mind of its own. Through its manipulations, the group dodges dangers, arriving at a golf-course clubhouse, but it’s no sanctuary. As Mr. Brom explains, “Insane cultists, Satan worshipers and evil wizards are like elderly nuns compared to the Golfers’ Association.” It’s up to the twins to save their friends from becoming blood sacrifices and prevent a powerful demon from being unleashed on the world. Hardison (Fish Wielder, 2016) writes an exciting tale with nonstop action, supernatural horror, and plenty of humor. Pop-culture references enliven the dialogue, as when Kaitlyn tearfully whispers, “The needs of the many” (from Star Trek II) to the band’s bus, demolished in getaway service. Hardison writes amusingly that his protagonists “had almost been killed, and they were experiencing cheap and melodramatic personal revelations,” but in fact the characters do come to new—and not at all cheap—understandings about their roles, relationships, and life paths, a great strength of the book. A nice twist at the end isn’t easy to see coming and works very well to tie things together.
A funny supernatural tale with spooky scenes, sincere emotions, and a solidly satisfying ending.