Well hello, bookworm, how lovely it is to see you on this rainy January day! Come in and get dry by the fire. I’d say happy new year since this is the first visit of 2021 but that may be stretching the acceptable social conventions of that one a little too far since we’re almost two weeks in!
I’m keeping my voice down because many of the books I received for Christmas are still settling in to their new homes and have tired themselves out, poor things. Meanwhile the sci-fi genre are sleeping fitfully after they took one too many time travelling trips, got a little lost and had a fright involving London and a rather large fire. As for the dragons and cats, let’s just say the Christmas tree drama won’t be forgotten for a while, especially by the dragons who still poop bits of it out…
I’ve had the chance to read so many books over the last few weeks but I want to start today with one I listened to rather than read. It’s called The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess. Have you heard of it? Here’s a cup of tea and a slice of carrot cake to eat while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb: The misdeeds of our ancestors are debts passed from generation to generation. They lurk, hidden in the shadows, waiting for the right time to be collected. For the residents of Harper Pass—their debt is due.
When a young autistic girl goes missing from a small Appalachian community, the residents of Harper Pass descend into chaos. Brooks Raker and his friends stumble across the police investigation, and as they dig deeper into the mysterious events, the boys realize the fate of their missing classmate pales in comparison with the evil lurking in the shadows of the quiet little town.
With four boys who believe something sinister is at work, and an ambitious reporter breathing down his neck, Detective Holt of the Harper Pass Police Department must confront his doubts and follow the evidence. A chain of disappearances and suspicious deaths, leads Holt to the doorstep of the mysterious and reclusive Professor Wadlow who may know exactly what has come to collect in Harper Pass.
Can the detective and the boys work together to unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets devour them all?
Here’s a little about the author: Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel. He is active on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
And here’s my review: I love listening to an audiobook as I’m doing something creative or just to make the time go faster when I’m doing chores. But I wasn’t always very productive when I listened to The Tear Collector because of the number of times I just stopped, listening intently, as the words chilled or thrilled me.
I could hear the influences of Stephen King strongly in the characterisation of not only the key players but of the town itself. The characters were many but were well defined enough that I kept track of almost all of them (there were a couple of sidekicks of the local thugs I got mixed up with but that’s ok).
I liked Brooks from the start, feeling his happiness at being accepted into the boys’ crew and I enjoyed the way their loyalty and friendship grew throughout the story. I imagined the boys being the same age as those in The Goonies or Stranger Things, although sometimes they seemed younger or older, depending on the situation.
I found myself comparing some elements of The Tear Collector to Stephen King’s legendary It, especially the shape shifting of the evil being they faced, but that isn’t a negative. Not many authors can be compared to King and come away looking favourable in my opinion, but the descriptions, plot and characters made Shawn Burgess worthy. I’m still thinking about the how the identities of the characters were linked so intrinsically with their town, something I have always loved about King’s novels.
Now, let’s talk about the narration, which is a crucial part of any audiobook experience. The narrator for The Tear Collector is Lou Petrella and I’m going to be honest and say I really struggled with his style at first. I never normally change the speed of the audiobook but felt I had to because the slow delivery got in the way of my enjoyment. I experimented with different speeds before settling on 1.2x, backtracked and started afresh, this time feeling much more engaged and appreciative of his narration.
Petrella’s ability to adapt his voice for different characters and bring their emotions to life was impressive. There are some scenes which are creepy, gory, shocking or all three, and Petrella’s vocal skill made me feel like I was the one holding my breath in terror as something evil moved, unseen, around me.
So once I’d found the pace I was comfortable with, I was able to see how Lou Petrella and Shawn Burgess go so well together and I hope this is a partnership which continues in the sequel. I’m giving this my first 4 stars of 2021 and recommend this to anyone who enjoys Stephen King’s style of horror or who binge-watched Stranger Things on Netflix.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, you can click on the book image above to go to the relevant page on Amazon or click on the button below to go to the audiobook on Audible. I don’t receive anything for providing these links, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thanks so much to Shawn Burgess and Rachel’s Random Resources for the copy of the audiobook in return for my honest opinion.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you this morning, bookworm, but I fear I must go. One of the dragons is sneezing near the sci-fi books and I suspect chaos will ensue if they think they’re suddenly back in a fiery 1666… farewell, bookworm!