Customer Reviews: Drummer Boy: A Supernatural Thriller
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on April 9, 2010
I enjoyed this lively novella about the passions of the Civil War, present in both today's living people and the revenants of the past, drawn to a final action during a local battle re-enactment. A mysterious cavern, the back of it blocked by a rockslide, has the strange sounds of snare drums coming from the depths, like those played by young boys at the battles of the Civil War. The drums helped marchers keep rhythm, and were another way to signal commands by their different tattoos. What is this mysterious drummer trying to say?

The boys who first hear the phenomena are the sort that don't really fit in with all the other kids. They rely on each other's company, support and companionship. They are familiar with local history after watching many re-enactments and seeing local collections of relics. There are stories about the local battle, and descendants of the participants still live in the area.

More things begin to happen, including sightings of phantom soldiers around the community. One young man has been affected mentally by a past visit to the Jangle Hole cavern years before. He was only a boy at the time, and was found just outside the opening, gibbering and unable to communicate what had happened. Since then he's been a toddler in an adult body, unable to talk or reason, just existing while his aging parents do everything for him. This child-man is drawn to the cave on the mountain, trying to drum with twigs while struggling to escape his watchful father.

A local developer plans to build homes in the area of the Jangle Hole, but are the spirits going to tolerate this?

The South Shall Rise Again...literally.

I also thought this story was very reminiscent of "The Body" by Stephen King. The boys in both of these stories would have liked each other. They have a lot in common.
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on April 18, 2010
The Red Church was the first of Scott Nicholson's novels I ever read. It changed my whole--up to then rather negative--attitude toward the label "horror" or "thriller." But, perhaps, Nicholson is just a much better writer than other authors of the genre. He tells intriguing, mysterious, and suspenseful stories, which are all the more compelling because of their strong and psychologically complex characters, the vivid descriptions, and the sensitive rendering of human emotions.
Drummer Boy is another page turner (or "page clicker", if you have a Kindle reader.) It reminded me a little of The Red Church, not just because some of the characters (Sheriff Littlefield) reappear, but because it depicts the still fragile psyche of adolescent boys, their insecurities, their struggle with love and friendship, and their fear of "not belonging," in a society where you are either "in or "out," "straight" or "gay," "good" or "evil." Interestingly enough, the young boys are more willing and brave enough than the adults to be true to themselves, not matter what the sacrifice.
Having spent my school years abroad for the most part, I am not as intimately familiar with the American Civil War as people who grew up in this country. What came across to me personally from the story was the fact that for many people in the South, the Civil War was never truly resolved. And so, the shadows in the form of ghostly soldiers keep on haunting them. That's true of any war, whether here or abroad. What we're not willing to deal with, will come back to torment us in one form or the other.
There is of course a lot more to the book. Find out for yourself!
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on November 7, 2011
I got this book for several reasons. First of which I've read other Nicholson novels and short stories and really enjoyed them. Secondly, I loved the Red Church and being this was supposed to feature Frank Littlefield (it's called a loose sequel to Church) I was pretty excited to read it.

Thing is, I found it a little slow and there wasn't enough Littlefield in it. The premise is interesting. During the time of the town's annual Civil War Reenactment ghosts of dead Civil War soldiers start coming out of yet another haunt in the area called the Jangling Hole. Several local boys wander into the hole despite the local ghost stories and it changes their lives forever.

As I said, interesting premise but the lack of Littlefield in much of the book left me a little flat. Also, much of the story centers around depressed people complaining about their spouses or parents, etc, etc and I found it honestly didn't add to the story.

Not a 'bad' book by any stretch, but it just didn't grab hold of me like some of Nicholson's previous works.
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on September 20, 2013
Even though I found the preoccupation with female anatomy repetitive and juvenile, I stayed with this book. I'm glad I did- while at times there were almost too many characters that all seemed to have only two thoughts in their head ( I wondered if the all male ghosts were driving this?) the ending was worth the wait. I particularly loved the reenactment, Jeff's intense obsession with all things civil war, Donnie's parents and the way they protected him, their relationship, and the strange friendship between Vernon and Bobby. I wish there had been more character development on some, and others didn't need anymore that a cameo. It was a lot to keep track of. It was an interesting premise and the fact that the entire male population of the town seemed to be drinking the same "koolaide" made for comic relief from the tension of the descriptive prose. Nicholson has a way with word that makes you see and smell straight into the crypt. While he has the adolescent preoccupation with sex down to a tee- the horror lost some of it's shocking value when it appeared that the rest of the male population of the town was stuck in the same vortex. Don't they have anything better to think about?
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on October 17, 2014
Dummer Boy is the second in a series following The Red Church. The setting is in Titusville – somewhere on the Appalachian Mountain Ridge. This area is deeply committed to its historic past of battles during the Civil War. Residents of this town are poor and stereo-typical back hills redneck types. The story centers around the civil war and it’s victims of long ago who still can be found near the Jangling Hole.

Several people have fallen victim to the Jangling Hole and it’s spirit inhabitants. The Hole is stirred up when the mountain is slated to be a huge housing development. The spirits manifest and visit several residents who have ties to the long dead men. Within these residents is a young boy – Vernon Ray Davis who does not belong in the world of his father (although he longs for it) and does not belong in the world of the Jangling Hole residents.

Vernon Ray Davis and his friends have multiple encounters with these spirits but ultimately, no one can save Vernon. He is faced with joining a world whose inhabitants have accepted him and given him what he has longed for – respect, and a coveted role of drummer boy or continue in the world where his father mocks and openly hates him. the jangling hole and it’s residents resonant with the rat-a-tat of the snare drum from the dead drummer boy who needs to be replaced.

Officer Littlefield who was predominant in the first book – The Red Church – is not as involved as he is always a day late and a dollar short.

The book had some harsh language but given the demographic it is written about, it only makes it more realistic. The plot and characters were well developed and believable.

The narrator, Milton Bagby did an excellent job of reading the book. He spoke clearly and concisely.

Audiobook provided for review by Scott Nicholson.

Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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on November 6, 2015
OK, I really tried to like this but couldn't get past all of the caricatures of Southern people. I'm from the South and know some people who are like practically every character in the book,but seriously, you don't have to have two paragraphs of internal hillbilly thought for every two sentences of dialogue. I only made it 73 pages before I gave up. 20% in and the author should have brought us more into the plot than he did.
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on March 10, 2014
This is yet another fantastic book by Scott Nicholson! Very proud of his representations of gay people, and his ability to use it in tandem with the idea of fear. Fear of coming out, fear of rejection, fear of gay people. Everyone is scared of something! Now I fear civil war re-enactors.
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on October 30, 2010
Once again, Scott Nicholson has impressed me with his ability to tell a story. This wasn't exactly a sequel to The Red Church, but it did have a repeat character, Sheriff Littlefield. This book didn't spook me as much as The Red Church, but it was still pretty eerie. I'll keep reading Scott Nicholson novels because I love them!
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on October 12, 2013
This review has a lot of the same content as the one for Red Church because to me the core of Scott's writing is what is so compelling.

I am generally not a fan of the horror genre, but since I enjoyed the "After" series, I thought I would try one of Scott's horror books. Although I am still not a fan of the horror genre in general, I do like and will keep reading books from Scott Nicholson, regardless of the genre.

Scott's books are more along the lines of "psychological" or "super-natural" horror rather than "blood and guts" horror which is a very nice change.

This book started off quickly without a lot of "fluff" or "filler", just the beginning of a great story that made me want to keep reading.

This story is very believable, the characters are real (I lived in very small Western North Carolina town for a couple of years, and the traits his characters show is dead on), the story keeps you engaged, there are plenty of twists that you don't see coming, and best of all it makes you think and question what you believe.

The idea behind the story, the conflict between current an past, and the conflict of what is and is not real were woven together in a way that made the story believable and enjoyable. The fact that the main characters are kids does not in any way take away from this story as it does in other books I have read. Their interaction with each other, their parents and their peers is very realistic and does not seem like an adult writing about what they think a kid today would feel or say. The amount of action is just right in that it lends to the story without taking it over, and keeps the reader engaged in the book.

If you want a book with a compelling story-line, real characters (flaws and all), that will make you stop and think and examine what you do/don't believe, then this is a book you will want to read.

Spoiler Alert:
I had one big question when I finished the book...
The Colonel said to Vernon earlier in the book "We don't belong together" and yet at the end of the book, they did go together. To me that was a little confusing as I did not see anything that changed whether or not they should be together, and the Colonel seemed to want to manipulate the situation so the Vernon did belong with him.
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on October 31, 2012
This book is OK. I finished it - which is saying that it was interesting enough to see through to the end. I would have to question how it's "the Sheriff Littlefield series" when he is - in my opinion - a side character. Doesn't really do much "sheriffing". Will I go out and purposely get more books in this series or by this author? The answer would be 'no' I guess that sums up my excitement regarding this particular book.
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