Written by: Dathan Auerbach
Published by: Doubleday
Pages: 320

Reviewed by: Naomi Downing

Five years ago while at the grocery store Ben’s three-year-old brother Eric vanished. Even though the cops have given up Ben is still searching, going as far as getting a job at the store his brother was at when he vanished. He feels things are wrong with the store and the employees, but he knows the store has a lot to show him.

Wow, this book is awesome! I took some time to process what I had read after I finished it so I could write this review, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. The setting and tone of this book was both creepy and mysterious, it didn’t have any jump out and scare you moments but rather a hand slowly moving up your back creepiness. I don’t think there was one “normal” person in the story, everyone had something that they were trying to hide from the world.

I really enjoyed Ben’s character and how he is not giving up on looking for his little brother, the guilt he feels about being the one who lost Eric really tugs at your heart. Unfortunately the guilt makes looking for Eric turn into an obsession and at points he gets violent. The emotions in this book are what you would think people would go through if they lost a family member and there were no leads to where that person was. The mother had completely lost her mind when her son goes missing, some nights she is found standing motionless in the boys room. I will say I would have liked to see more to the mother, she was very fragile but I would of liked to see some fire in her.

Reading this book I had a lot of questions most went unanswered, which I’m sure is what happens with real life missing person cases. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down but had to so I could process what I had read, it really gets into your head. This book is definitely an emotional rollercoaster ride…and it doesn’t end when the book is over either.

DATHAN AUERBACH was born in the southern U.S. and has lived there for most of his life. In 2011, he began posting a series of stories to a forum dedicated to horror. After a Kickstarter campaign that raised over 1000% of its goal, he was able to release the revised and expanded versions of his story as the novel Penpal.


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