But there was nothing. No amount of summoning or pleading or weeping or shouting brought him back. His brother was absolutely stricken from existence.
Two brothers are abducted from an Oz festival, among munchkins and hordes of people. Their father simply stepped away, can he be faulted for that? They are taken to a cabin by the woods, but only one returns alive, the eldest (Dean) spotted swimming with his dead little brother Jason’s body. Something dark and twisted intoxicates him, never healing from the trauma. He is the wrong brother, the one without promise or hope. The weaker of the two, the failure. The brother who never spoke up, the one cursed to survive, unwanted. He hasn’t really come back, and won’t for decades.
Brutality pulses inside of him, violence, deviance, warped sexuality that disgusts his mother and the searing memory of a ‘different’ mother’s milk. A mother who is still out there, probably hunting other children. Strange, twisted friendships cemented in blood and power struggles. What is it about damaged people that draw goodness towards it, as Brett is drawn into Dean’s dark history? Brett sees in Dean that little boy who came home, broken. Dean is shattered, how do you truly go back to who you were, to the untouched innocence stolen? Who would understand it, something most will never know? Fractured families, drug addictions, a lust for violence- this book is brutal. Dean is filled with self-loathing, unable to defend his kid brother against bigger bullies just before his death, a father who hated him before and more so after the tragedy. No one saves Dean. No visits from the dead to ease his loss, only haunting memories. A mother that cannot save her son and is terrified of him, spiraling through the years until she meets a ‘confetti of feathers’.
I realize my review is disjointed, but the novel is everywhere and Dean’s terrible life in the aftermath of abduction just goes deeper into darkness, even when he tries. Will he find his tormentor? Will there ever be punishment? Certainly Dean’s entire life seems like a sentence, and maybe his father damaged his sweet boy before those sick people got to him! Why does his father get a new start? Erasure of sorts, an obliteration of his kid brother, his memory, his dad’s ‘original’ family- where is Dean’s fresh start? Somewhere over the rainbow sure as hell doesn’t exist in this dark tale. If you are ready to be disturbed, read away. I’m still trying to recover from the image of Dean’s escape in the water. Sad!
Publication Date: October 3, 2017