One thing is for sure with a title such as this book has, one could certainly expect to be in for a surprise. With a book of close to eight hundred pages, this story’s length might be one to discourage a reader. However, do yourself a favor and grab a copy for this is one heck of a story brilliantly told.
Jack Thatch is a young boy who is left bereft when his parents die in a car crash. Left to live with his hard working but very poor Aunt Jo, Jack’s life look bleak and one where he will find little to be joyful about. One day, August 8th to be exact, while visiting his parents’ graves, Jack meets, sitting on a bench, a young girl who is followed by a team of white clad people and cars. How very strange and mysterious! Stella becomes an enigma, a conundrum, a puzzlement to Jack. She will return at intervals on that same August 8th day, to the same bench this journey began on, always with those people in white. The odyssey of Jack and Stella commences.
There is something sinister, something eerie, something otherworldly about Stella, but the attraction Jack feels becomes stronger every year, and his heart becomes involved with a love that is tenacious and vibrant. There is not a day when Jack does not think of Stella for he is convinced she is his destiny. Meanwhile life goes on for Jack. He works with his aunt in a diner and the two of them scrimp and save to try to make ends meets. But mysterious things start happening. Jack receives five hundred dollars monthly, left on his bed, and has no idea where or how this money comes to be. He meets with Stella whenever she appears on August 8th, and they find common ground in the work of Dickens’s Great Expectations. Jack becomes Stella’s Pip.
There is much about Stella that is shrouded in mystery. Why the wearing of gloves and why is she accompanied to the graveyard by these white clad people with a women tender…….and then there are the bodies that are starting to surface. Bodies that seemed to have been burned and yet not burned. The police get involved. Detectives Fogel and Brier are on the trail especially since there seems to be a pattern of one dead body found on August 9th, the day after Jack and Stella’s intermittent meetings.
There is another perplexing character, a boy D, who is locked away, harboring a terrible secret and ability. How he and the others figure into this enigma drives the story forward at a pace that takes one’s breath away.
This is a love story, love in its many forms, familial, friendship, but ultimately, it is the love Jack has for Stella that brings this story full circle to a most amazing conclusion.
I totally fell in love with the book. It was one in which hours passed, and one more chapter became two, three or four. It was one where the middle of the night reading became the rule. It was just that good. So, do indeed take a look at this book. It has everything one loves in stories and through its masterful telling is able to weave a tale so intricate, so loving, so scary, so intriguing that the words you can’t put this book down takes on new meaning.
Many thanks to J.D. Barker, Hampton Creek Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this fantastic book due out on March 31, 2020.
and here’s the author:
J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author whose work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.
Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.