Teenager Chris Buckley makes his stand in the town of Solitary in the fourth and final book in Thrasher’s (Temptation, 2012) Christian-oriented Solitary Tales series.
After leaving his father’s home in Chicago, Chris returns to the strangeness of Solitary, N.C.—confronting disturbing visions, a lifelike mannequin that looks like a deceased former friend and continuing threats against the life of his mother, Tara Kinner. Although Chris wants to save his mother, he has no idea where she is; meanwhile, evil town patriarch Ichor Staunch informs Chris that, although Staunch can’t kill him, he can still hurt him in numerous ways. Staunch and others seek to manipulate, threaten and frighten Chris into renouncing God and coming over to their side before the ailing head of the Kinner clan, Walter Kinner, makes his exit; the date is set for Chris to officially become part of the Kinner clan on Memorial Day. Chris’ emotionally wounded Uncle Robert notes that the Kinner clan sees Chris as “their Luke Skywalker.” Chris also grows closer to sweet Kelsey Page and her loving family; he begins attending her church, which—unlike that of demented local pastor Jeremiah Marsh—is founded on Christian principles. Gradually, Chris’ belief in God deepens. However, Chris can’t shake the feeling that he’s risking Kelsey’s life by associating with her. Meanwhile, an FBI agent arrives to investigate the disappearance of Jocelyn Evans—from the series’ first book, Solitary (2010)—who was ritualistically sacrificed about a year ago. Other characters from past books reappear, including Poe, Jared and Newt, to address past plot points; Thrasher also adds the 42-year-old, 250-pound Mounds, a lively, hippie-ish ghost hunter who hires Chris as his assistant. The author skillfully depicts the horror of living in creepy Solitary as Chris works to ensure his own safety and that of his loved ones. Throughout, the author gently leads the reader toward a conclusion that hints of hope and a vital transformation to come.
A fine, fitting end to a soulful series.