Written by: Myra Gabor
Mr. Reagan writes about teens who are trying to escape the strictures of their lives. Doesn’t matter that their lives in middle class Connecticut are quite comfortable, they are all still looking for the elusive rainbow that their music will bring them.
From Connecticut, the band “Lies as Language” travels to South Jersey to play a gig. For those of you who don’t know, South Jersey contains the Pine Barrens, over a million acres of trees, rivers and mountains that is also supposed to contain the Jersey Devil. This creature, according those who claim to have seen it, has a horse’s face, a dog’s head and wings. According to legend, Mrs. Leeds gave birth to it in the Pine Barrens (to remind you, the story is called Leeds House).
The band and the groupies they’ve picked up are travelling along a highway when something hits the car. They’re sure the something is a cow and, to get away, they zoom off the highway taking turn after turn. They wind up in the Pine Barrens, completely lost, where they encounter a dark shape that seems to melt inside the darkness of the forest. They then come upon a house standing by itself in the trees and in which they manage to scare the old, blind woman living there. Before they leave, however, they ask about the shadow. She tells the group that it wasn’t hunting them, it was trying to escape from what it was attached to.
These products of modern civilization have managed to lose their phones and their van which makes them completely helpless in the dark forest. So close to paved roads, but without their up-to-the-minute conveniences, they are completely helpless. They come to another house, surprisingly well maintained where they spend the night. And encounter the dark shadow again.
Mr. Reagan acknowledges his debt to awful D horror films. It shows in this story line, the young people stranded in a house in the woods and knowing that there’s something out there. But the author has his own voice and that’s a problem for me.
I’m looking at this book from an older perspective, when curse words were whispered, not injected into every sentence. I’m sure that each protagonist is speaking in a voice that some cool young people really use today, but I didn’t find it cool, I found it made the protagonists sound like spoiled children.
However, I can recommend this book, especially if you like gore. Or wait until it gets made into a movie. It looks like it could be turned into one. But older people, be warned. The daily speech of these kids is raw. The story itself is entertaining. You’ll have to make up your own minds about it.