The Glister by John Burnside
Finished: Apr. 17, 2009
First Published: March 10, 2009
Genre: horror, thriller
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House.
In the beginning, John Morrison is working in his garden.
Comments: Innertown, located somewhere on the coast of Britain, has been more like a ghost town since the chemical plant closed down years ago. Since them most people who worked there have either died or are very sick with undetermined illnesses. The plant and the surrounding acres have been shut down and closed off, left to the elements and time. Of course kids being kids, there are some who still like to hang out and wander around the old plant. This is the setting for a sudden disappearance of a local boy, there one minute, gone the next. Now over the years, every so often a boy will disappear, one this year, then one two years later, then one the next year and so on. The local police find no traces, the boys are just old enough, and family circumstances just bad enough for them to say this is a dead end town for these kids, they've had enough, they've packed up and gone off to face the world on their own. Some believe that line, others don't.
Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different voice and thus the story is told from many points of view. Some characters only share their view occasionally while others, such as the main character, a local boy called Leonard, come to the front more often. From reading the blurbs and book summary I had presumed this would be a horror story but it is no ordinary horror book, instead I found it much more like what I would call a crime thriller. I found it very engrossing and read the book within a 24 hour period always coming back to it after having had to put it down for some reason or other. A page turner with wonderful characterization especially considering the short number of pages. I was really caught up in the story and found some of the scenes as the case started to unravel quite unnerving. My problem is with the ending, well with the last page exactly. As I was reading along and the case had been solved to the reader's satisfaction, I came to the last page and came upon a scene which made me exclaim a great big "HUH???" I have no idea why it ended the way it did or what it's supposed to mean. Remove that last page and I would have enjoyed the book for a higher rating but the ending left me so confuddled, I'm at a loss to say how I feel about the rest of the book now. Read the book and you'll enjoy a good thriller but do yourself a favour and skip the last page or maybe come back to it and read it a week later.