THE CREEPS by JOHN CONNOLLY

Emily Bestler Books/Atria

Pub date: October 22, 2013

Samuel Johnson has now twice done battle with – and twice emerged victorious over – the forces of evil. If anyone’s earned the right to a bit of peace, it’s him. Unfortunately, though, all is not peaceful in Samuel’s hometown of Biddlecombe. Everyone’s buzzing over the grand opening of Wreckit & Sons toy shop (an event at which Samuel is to be the guest of honor), but while this may seem like the kind of excitement a young man would welcome, Samuel’s got a bad feeling about what’s truly in store for him and his neighbors. And as it just so happens, our hero’s concern is most decidedly well placed…

John Connolly’s third Samuel Johnson novel, THE CREEPS, isn’t the kind of book that’s meant to be read – it’s the kind of book that’s meant to be experienced, and gleefully so at that. Connolly is a master storyteller. His prose has the ability to suck you in and spirit you away, and as such, it’s not intended for consumption during spare moments between errands; no, in order to properly enjoy this novel, one must have the kind of time it takes get well and truly lost – a long, lazy afternoon, perhaps, or a night spent under the covers with a flashlight.

Make no mistake – Connolly’s latest is not a children’s book. The protagonist may be adolescent, and so too may be the humor, but the nightmarish contents of Wreckit & Sons are more appropriate for the young-at-heart than the truly young. And while THE CREEPS would likely be categorized as whimsical horror, that label doesn’t give Connolly nearly enough credit for just how heartwarming, profound, and yes, educational a tale this is. From string theory to USDA policy on insect consumption to the true nature of friendship, John Connolly’s THE CREEPS teaches readers a number of valuable lessons – the most important being that even adults should be scared of the dark.

 

-Katrina Niidas Holm