From the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child comes a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy's only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.
In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue's The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.
The ghostly influence of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw haunts this chilling novel by Donohue (The Stolen Child), which follows a troubled boy whose interest in drawing coincides with the appearance of strange creatures around his family's "dream house" in coastal Maine. When Jack Peter "Jip" Keenan, an agoraphobic, occasionally violent 10-year-old with "high-functioning" Asperger's, takes up drawing, his parents, Holly and Tim, hope this new creative outlet will help to combat Jip's introversion. But, over the course of a bleak December, a series of inexplicable phenomena a beast-like man in the road, the bone of a human arm in the sand, visions of evil babies "scuttling... like silverfish across a page," etc. begin to throw the family, as well as Jip's only friend, Nick, off-balance. With Jip receding further into himself, and his drawings visually linked to the phenomena growing darker, Holly seeks the counsel of a mysterious church worker, Miss Tiramaku, who, having Asperger's herself, believes she knows Jip's "secret." Donohue is an adept creator of atmosphere the nor'easter that frames the novel's climax is expertly rendered but repetitive flashbacks and the characters' underdeveloped emotions detract from what is otherwise a brisk and winningly creepy narrative.
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Slow but promising
The title is good. The story is good. The ending is good. The first 3/4 is excruciatingly slow. It could turn into a really good horror flick if done right.
I read a lot. Probably many of the same books you do. Time would be better spent on a book that the writer took as much time as the reader did in suffering through the childish ending. I would have thought the professional reviewer would have provided a better review of a book that felt like such work to get through. You have been warned!
The Boy Who Drew Dragons
A long, drawn out, repetitive story to a quick surprising ending.