Brooks and his friends investigate the disappearance of their classmate in The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess.
Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me an audiobook of The Tear Collector in return for an honest review.
The Tear Collector is told from the point of view of Brooks, a young boy who’s main worry is being caught by the local bullies. That all changes when one of his classmates, Margo Combs, goes missing. Brooks is the last person to see her in the local woods known as Grief Hollow. Brooks and his friends set out to try and solve the mystery, while the local police begin their search. It turns out Margo’s strange disappearance is just the beginning.
While this story focuses on younger characters (12-14yrs), I would say that this book is for an adult audience. There are a lot of gory scenes as well as trigger warnings for mentions of rape, depression, suicide and stillbirths.
The Tear Collector was a gripping read from start to finish, reminding me of older, more traditional horror stories. While there is some gore, it focuses on building tension and the horror of the unknown. This is my favourite type of horror story so I loved it and I was hooked straight away!
Brooks and his friends are quite young, about 12-14 years of age, and I thought that Shawn wrote their characters really well. Tension is often broken by jokes between the gang and it felt very realistic, and these made me laugh a few times! I was pleased that the parents are also in the story — very often in books focusing on young people, I’m left wondering ‘where are their parents?!’ so it was good to see them involved throughout the book.
Some of The Tear Collector is told from the point of view of Detective Holt, who has to lead the investigation as the Chief is on leave. Shawn does a fantastic job of portraying a detective struggling to juggle his homelife with a demanding career. My favourite scene was when two of the officers leave a local boy in their police car while they investigate something in the woodland — it’s absolutely chilling!
The ending was a little disappointing — it was a bit abrupt and felt a bit too neatly done. But overall this is a great read that kept me hooked and I spent a lot of time thinking about the story and who could be the killer throughout the day.
I listened to this one as an audiobook (approx 10 hours), narrated by Lou Petrella. I love listening to audiobooks while I do housework or other menial tasks around the house. I found that I had to speed up the narration to 1.25x speed to find it comfortable to listen to, but I enjoyed Lou’s narration and felt his voices for each character suited their personalities well.
Because the story focuses on a group of young boys, it’s tempting to compare it to IT by Stephen King or the Stranger Things TV series. But this book is definitely its own beast — Shawn has done a fantastic job of building tension and creating some interesting characters. The Tear Collector is a gripping and enjoyable read, and a fantastic debut novel!
The blurb for The Tear Collector
The misdeeds of our ancestors are debts passed from generation to generation. They lurk, hidden in the shadows, waiting for the right time to be collected. For the residents of Harper Pass — their debt is due.
When a young autistic girl goes missing from a small Appalachian community, the residents of Harper Pass descend into chaos. Brooks Raker and his friends stumble across the police investigation, and as they dig deeper into the mysterious events, the boys realize the fate of their missing classmate pales in comparison with the evil lurking in the shadows of the quiet little town.
With four boys who believe something sinister is at work, and an ambitious reporter breathing down his neck, Detective Holt of the Harper Pass Police Department must confront his doubts and follow the evidence. A chain of disappearances and suspicious deaths, leads Holt to the doorstep of the mysterious and reclusive Professor Wadlow who may know exactly what has come to collect in Harper Pass.
Can the detective and the boys work together to unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets devour them all?
About the author, Shawn Burgess
Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel.
About the audiobook narrator, Lou Petrella
I’ve been acting since 1992 making appearances in a number of film, television commercials, and theater productions. I love all kinds of acting, especially voice over, wearing different hats and playing different roles, while putting my own twist on each performance, with a bit of fun and creativity. I feel gratified when I hear from listeners about how my work has helped them see new worlds or simply their current world in a new light.
Blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources
I reviewed The Tear Collector as part of an audiobook tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts: