Scowler is Dark.
Scowler is Disturbing.
After nine years in prison, a psychopath returns to the family farm with one thing on his mind—revenge against his son, now nineteen years old, for having him locked up all those years ago. That father, Marvin Burke, has escaped when meteorites fall through the county. One hits the prison and chaos ensues. Though Burke is supposed to be in a more distant lock-up, another escaped prisoner comes to the farm and warns Ry that his father is out for his blood.
Ry had bested his father nine years earlier after climbing through a window and discovering his mother locked in her room, unable to flee. Her immobility is due to the twisted torture that her husband had devised for her in response to the fact that she has secretly done work to support the failing farm. (I can’t tell you—don’t want to kill the creep factor when you read it.)
Though the family—Ry, his mom and his little sister Sarah—nearly escape, Marvin Burke catches them. It is up to ten-year-old Ry to be a decoy, to risk himself through a freezing night. He has no jacket, none of the right clothing, in fact. No light. No nothing, except three toys that fall from his pockets. As his mental state breaks under pressure of his father stalking him in order to murder him, these toys come to life and direct him through his living hell.
One of Ry’s toys—Scowler—is an old cast-off, homemade from pipes, husks and shells. Hideously ugly.
It may prove his salvation more than once.
High school housekeeping: I think any teen might enjoy Scowler for a Halloween fright. Though there are several flashbacks, it takes place over a few days, just before the meteorite hits and then just after. Here, the reader finds himself in the mind of a sadistic psychopath as well as in the mind of his son, who, having suffered beyond ordinary human endurance, may well become a psychopath himself. The language is colorful, so if cursing offends you, you might take a pass. But this gives a sense of reality both to the brother-sister relationship and to the dire situation of the family. It’s a book of average length and average difficulty that will give you a taste of what adult horror fans read in the lengthier works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and their ilk.