The Tear Collector: Shawn Burgess
Reviewed By Steve Stred
‘The Tear Collector’ is my first go-around with Mr. Burgess and what a great introduction to his writing. The synopsis itself and the cover had me massively intrigued and I’d seen some really good reviews about this around its release date.
What I liked: This story hums along and the principle plot behind it is right up my alley. Grief Hollow is a section of woods near a small town that everyone avoids. People go missing, odd things happen etc. The story opens with a horrific incident that sets the stage for the main events almost a decade later.
The story itself is broken into two main narratives; the first is a coming-of-age story about a group of friends who band together to face an unseen force, while also dealing with some local bullies. The second is the search for a missing girl, which then becomes more and more a police story about just what is going on.
The characters were great, and the short, quick chapters made sure you wanted to keep reading more, to find out just what is happening. The ending was a bit of a mixed bag, but it played out just the way the story needed. Good character resolutions and the epilogue was a fun add on.
What I didn’t like: Even with the quick chapters, there was a bit in the middle that seemed to lag, where the story didn’t really move along. Part of it was building trust and rapport within the group of characters, but the timeline of everything happening in this story wasn’t very long, so the middle section I thought could have been a bit more condensed. The other thing I wasn’t completely sold on was the ‘why’ of the thing in Grief Hollow, but that’s just me. It may work really well for others!
Why you should buy this: Everyone who reads horror loves coming-of-age stories set in the creepy woods. Add in bullies, disappearances and the police and this thing is primed for fans of this genre. I really loved the gore and then as we do see more of the thing, the story grows creepier and creepier.
This was a great introduction to Shawn’s work! I had a blast and it’s always a fun time when the story moves this quickly for most of the book.
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?
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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