The Tear Collector gives me Stephen King feels, and that’s a good thing. I’m thinking specifically of It and The Body (the story that the movie Stand By Me is based on), as The Tear Collector features a group of teenage boys banded together, supporting each other, and coming of age, against a formidable, deadly foe.

The setting in this case is the small Appalachian town of Harper Pass. When a young autistic girl disappears in a place where tragedy struck several years before, it sets off a chain of events that envelopes the town and entangles the boys in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. There’s a smart detective who’s way out of his depth, an overly aggressive young reporter, a disgraced, eccentric college professor, and a centuries-old evil bent on revenge. The friends are all well-developed characters with distinct, believable personalities.

Burgess has a flair for ratcheting up tension. The central mystery is well thought out, with a nice dive into the history that brought the reader to this point. This is a small-town thriller with a heavy dose of horror, and his big-bad is fun and inventive. Give this one a try!

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