Length: 282 Pages
Publisher: Poltergeist Press
Release date: June 11, 2020
Synopsis: After an attack leaves Tony’s stepfather wounded, his thirteenth birthday descends into a nightmare. His stepdad is home, a bite on his neck, as Riverside’s only officer searches the woodlands for the aggressor. Tony is told not to cause a panic among the few kids living in Riverside’s mountaintop community, and his best friends Ben Rodgers and Lee Tally are unaware.
Overnight, the condition of Tony’s stepfather worsens. His mother won’t leave the bedside. And soon, Riverside is turned upside down as residents morph into moss-covered abominations. Freaks.
Joined by the local bully, the boys seek refuge in Rodgers’ tree house, trapped inside as neighbors, and even family, claw the trunk… Food and water soon run low.
With all hope lost, the boys decide to have their first of what they can before time runs out. Their first drink, their first cigarette, their first of anything at all. Like baby birds thrown from the nest, they will need to fly or fall. And time is running short.
For his thirteenth birthday, Tony learns the world has teeth. And someone else is out there, too, watching. An adult in a butcher’s apron. Waiting…
Those Below The Tree House is the new supernatural coming-of-age from the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of What Do Monsters Fear? and A Penny For Your Thoughts.
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review
I’ve read several of Matt Hayward’s books and really dig his writing. I find myself sucked into the stories before I know what’s happened. The Faithful sits at the top of my favorites, along with A Penny For Your Thoughts, co-written with Robert Ford, which was a damn good book.
But, with Those Below The Tree House, I had my doubts early on. I struggled to get into the story while being introduced to Tony and his abusive stepdad. Then, after a few chapters all hell broke loose and I was interested. I was loving the characters and found myself needing to know what the hell was going on.
This group of young teens, and the local bully, after forced to pull together to escape the madness engulfing their town. Tony, Lee, Kit and Rog are as rag tag as they come, each with a less than desirable home life. This coming of age story pulled at my emotions.
I was shocked, saddened, hopeful, and screaming as chaos engulfed their neighborhood. Matt Hayward’s moss covered freaks were damn cool, and creepy as all hell. Those Below The Tree House was a heck of a ride and the ending was right on point. If you’re a fan of coming of age stories combined with a supernatural element and horror, give this one a read.