With Halloween approaching, I once again find myself hunting down spooky books and movies as entertainment as I prepare for one of my favorite holidays. Usually I have to go on the hunt for just the right book, but not this time. Back in 2013, I had the good fortune to discover author Samuel Sattin and his novel, League of Somebodies (review here). Since then, I’ve been anxiously awaiting his next tale, and it’s now here… The Silent End is a tale perfect for Halloween and geeks.
Eberstark is an overweight, unpopular, high schooler in the sleepy town of Mossglow. His mother disappeared (mysteriously) a year ago and his father then went a little crazy and has since been splitting time hiding in a backyard bunker and the nearby forest with his silent and mysterious companion The Hat. Eberstark does his best to keep his head down and steer clear of the school townies… bullies that like to make life miserable for the rest of the student body that includes Eberstark’s two best friends–Gus and Lexi. Gus and Eberstark share interest in a miniature gaming hobby called Sword Star, both still wondering why outsider Lexi showed any interest in befriending them. Eberstark won’t complain, though, as (a) she’s female and he’s hopeless and (b) she also has the only means of transportation for the trio, a beat up Ford Bronco called The Shepherd.
On Halloween night, while the group of friends is out trick or treating (Gus has calculated the most efficient path to take to maximize the best candy-delivering homes and the proper timing for the residents to forget the three so they can make a return visit and grab more candy), Eberstark receives a strange text that he just knows is from his dad:
T-Minus 15 minutes
Better hold on to something.
When fifteen minutes is up, nothing happens. Turns out that Eberstark’s dad was a little off on his timing because a massive explosion is heard and then felt across the small town. It’s from the woods, and, while Lexi wants to investigate, she is overruled by the tow boys. The next day, Lexi is absent from school–when the boys manage to find her, she takes them to the woods where she shows them her discovery. Lying in the woods is a dying monster. And this monster has the strangest blue crystalline blood…
After dragging the dying monster to a nearby cave, the trio return to their normal day-to-day activities… or they try to do so. Gus and Lexi are having strange dreams, and when Gus has a very strange event occur involving some of the blue crystal material and one of his gaming miniatures, Eberstark knows that something is going on. A shocking death at the school shakes the kids up, and all of a sudden Eberstark’s dad reappears and delivers a dose of reality about some of the strange happenings in the town. And then… things start to get REALLY dark.
The Silent End is, at first glance, a horror story–a small town under attack by an ancient evil. But the scary stuff really takes a backseat as the trio’s friendship is put through a number of trials and as Eberstark and his father finally begin to understand one another a bit better. The geek in me loved how Gus and Eberstark share a miniatures game hobby, and the dad in me loved the tension between father and son. And, of course, I love a good bump-in-the-night tale that resolves, mystery after mystery, as a slow burn. The Silent End was just an outstandingly fun read, and once again I find myself looking forward to Sattin’s next book.