What happens when the monsters under the bed come from the boy sleeping on top of it?
Jack Peter is not a normal boy, and it’s beginning to take its toll on his family. He’s always been an odd child, but at 7, he nearly drowned and withdrew from the world. For the three years since, he has refused to leave the house, preferring to move from obsession to obsession, occasionally being bundled into a wad of blankets to be taken to the doctor. When the book begins, his obsession has moved from playing war to drawing monsters, and Nick, a relatively normal boy who is Jack's only remaining friend, is swept up in the furor. But Jack's parents and Nick are beginning to hear and see things that seem otherworldly, and it becomes clear that Jack's drawings reflect, or perhaps even create, the odd sounds and creatures. His parents, Tim and Holly, baffled by the happenings and frightened by the cracks in their marriage, try desperately to solve the growing mysteries. All suspect they are going insane; Tim takes to roaming the foggy beaches, Holly turns to the church, and Nick keeps tagging along with Jack. Donohue’s (The Stolen Child, 2006, etc.) writing is as evocative as Jack Peter’s drawings, both startling and heavy with emotion. The pacing is steady and recalls other recent works of literary horror, in which the terror of the monsters is uneasily balanced with the mundanity of everyday life. This doesn't discredit Jack's creatures at all, though; in fact, they're terrifying. With such a spooky novel, it’s almost too much to hope for a good ending, but Donohue manages to surprise and satisfy nonetheless.
A sterling example of the new breed of horror: unnerving and internal with just the right number of bumps in the night.