Max Booth III must be the busiest man in horror. Publisher, podcaster, screenwriter, editor and prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, with his time seemingly so in demand, it is all the more impressive that he is able to produce a novel so assured and accomplished a Touch the Night.
When twelve-year-olds Joshua and Alonzo decide to ditch a planned sleepover and instead spend the night walking the streets of Percy, Indiana, looking for something to pass the time, a seemingly innocuous trip to the local gas station takes an unexpected turn and the boys soon find themselves in trouble with the Law. At least, that’s how it seemed to them at first…
When the boys’ mothers notice them missing the next day, and the local police force seems either unwilling or unable to help, they begin to fear the worst. What follows is a descent into a surreal small-town nightmare of ancient families and dark rituals from which there may be no escape.
In the books’ description, Touch the Night is compared with both Stranger Things and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and while both comparisons are pretty on point, they don’t do justice to quite how odd this book gets at times. It’s almost like a David Lynch directed episode of Stranger Things, taking inspiration from an alternate world Texas Chainsaw Massacre that was directed by David Cronenberg.
It is a difficult book to review because it is not an easy book to describe while simultaneously doing it justice. There were times I actually laughed out loud reading it, and times I had to put it down because the tension was too much to bear. It switches between hilarious, heartbreaking, horrific, scary and surreal with ease, and the changes are never jarring and always timed to perfection. To say any more would be to delve into spoiler territory and this is one of those books where the less you know going in, the more you will enjoy it.
While the boys are probably two of my favorite characters of any book I have read this year (their comfortable friendship and easy back and forth is a joy to read) Touch the Night is packed full of great characters. The boys’ mothers, while polar opposites at the outset, soon find common ground in their search for them once they go missing, and any time spent with them is time well spent. There are also memorable villains in abundance and a lot of periphery characters that get fully fleshed-out personalities and backstories that just add an extra layer to an already engrossing book.
A coming-of-age tale unlike any you have ever read. Touch the Night is everything a horror fan could ever want in a book and a lot more. It’s no exaggeration to say that Max Booth III has written what is a strong contender for the best horror novel of 2020.
Read Another Review of This Book…
Touch the Night by Max Booth III
Amazon.com Price: $4.99 (as of 04/10/2021 01:51 PST- Details) Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Stranger Things and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre unite to form a blood-soaked matrimony of violence and corruption.
DescriptionMOTHER! MOTHER! RISE FROM THE GROUND! Stranger Things and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre unite to form a blood-soaked matrimony of violence and corruption. Something sinister’s hiding in the small town of Percy, Indiana, and twelve-year-old Joshua Washington and Alonzo Jones are about to find themselves up close and personal with it. After a harmless night of petty property damage leads to the unthinkable, the red and blue lights of a cop car are the last things these boys want to see. Especially a cop car driven by something not quite human. Enter Mary Washington and Ottessa Jones. Their sons have been best friends for years, and now Josh and Alonzo have been abducted in the dead of night. Worst of all, the local sheriff refuses to believe they’re missing, leaving it up to Mary and Ottessa to take the law into their own hands before a family of ungodly lunatics can complete a ritual decades in the making. Together they will embark on a surreal and violent journey into a land of corrupt law enforcement, small-town secrets, gravitational oddities, and ancient black magic.