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Drummer Boy: A Supernatural Thriller Kindle Edition
|Length: 305 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Scott Nicholson does many things brilliantly well, IMO. He engages the senses religiously, immersing you in his tale. His characters, mostly male, are believable with all of their neuroses and sexual oddities, enough so that I laughed out loud dozens of times. His writing is often poetic and remarkable, even while describing simple things. His setting is believable, whether it's about the trailer park where the boys live, or the Appalachian mountains. And there is a theme and message here, which I greatly prefer in a novel; the author is telling a story first and foremost, but he's also saying something in the end.
When I give a book four stars, it means I loved it, but I thought there were some areas where it could've been even better. I thought the beginning of the book was excellent; it built a great deal of mystery around believable characters in situations that made me laugh. I thought the middle dragged a bit, but Nicholson's excellent writing still carried it; once the basic mystery of the story was known, it felt like I was waiting too much for the climax through the middle section.
I thought the end was mixed in that it was great in some respects, but flawed in others; it was exciting and really made me turn the pages, but I found the grand finale less believable than all the rest of his tale, and the final wrap-up felt too short. The mixed ending keeps it from being a five-star book for me. For example, I would've liked to have seen the tension between the fathers brought to more of a conclusion, and perhaps something more impacting regarding the female photographer. However, the major characters, the boys Vernon Ray and Bobby, were dealt a powerful resolution.
I have no significant interest in the Civil War per se, but I really enjoyed the Civil War ghost angle in the story, and I thought the historical info centering around Kirk's Raiders was handled particularly well, since it was based on historical events without ever feeling pedantic.
I've heard from multiple sources that Scott's book, The Red Church, is also very good. I'm looking forward to reading that one next. I know that it's set in the same area, and has one of the same characters, Sheriff Littlefield.
I think DRUMMER BOY gives us a southern ghost story to savor and laugh with, and an author whose rich and creative prose is its own reward.
First of all, as someone whose work has been connected with a sort-of region, in my case the North Woods of Wisconsin, I can see how wonderfully Nicholson evokes the Appalachians. I've only been through there once, but reading his work places you squarely in the middle of it and brings it to life. His descriptions of the woods are strong enough to make the setting a character all in itself. Then there's a strongly-fleshed out coming of age story, and more than enough supernatural goings-on to make anyone happy -- or darn scared. Ghost soldiers have their own mythology, especially because so many countries have left so many behind in their own and others' plowed-under fields. The ghosts of the Civil War abide to this day, and Nicholson writes ghosts with the best of them. What Stephen King has so often done for Maine, Scott Nicholson manages to do for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Readers of The Red Church will find the connections intriguing. Fans of meaty, well-written supernatural horror will enjoy Drummer Boy. And those who like a healthy slice of social commentary with their horror fiction (which is most of us) will be particularly satisfied.
I haven't been a ghost story reader, for the most part, but Drummer Boy is the kind of novel that changes minds by expanding them.
An excellent novel, and recommended to any and all fans of the paranormal. And, as I said, there's a lot more to it than that, making it an even better value.
--W.D. Gagliani, author of Savage Nights