(Book cover by Ian Sanderson, Getty Images)
Oleander, Kansas, where life is as compelling as the scenery, is shook up after five of it's residents go on separate killing sprees.
Daniel is lonely boy who is trying to be the best father figure to his younger brother Milo, since their own father is a drunk street preacher ranting about the end of times since their mother passed.
Jule is a "Prevette", the last name synonymous with the trailer trash, meth producing family that live near the swamps but she does her best to stay out of trouble and out of sight.
Cass is a girl dreaming of the day she leaves for college and for good, because as she believes she is better than Oleander and most of the people living there. Despite having a mild dislike for children, she babysits to earn money to one day make her escape.
Jeremiah West is a handsome football player, trying to keep his relationship with Nick completely under wraps, because if the people of Oleander knew, it would destroy his family.
Ellie is a born again Christian, doing her best to reject old temptations and spread the Word, which takes on an entire new level when she believes to hear God speaking to her directly.
These five survivors of the killings are haunted about what could have caused some of Oleander's residents to kill, more so once a destructive tornado plows through, leaving the town to rebuild. This seemingly disparate group of teens find themselves facing the darkness that is responsible for the town deteriorating while fighting for answers and for their lives.
I recommend this book to anyone that loves thrilling, horror & mystery novels or even loves shows like The Walking Dead. It's written from each one of the characters perspective which it keeps it moving at a good pace, as I was half way through it before I even noticed. Jule was my favorite character, simply because she gets underdog status given her family and living situation, and I always root for the underdog. Each character has shining moments though, and anyone can find themselves relating to one or all. The book certainly does deal with killing and other dark topics, so it is very raw and intense so be warned if that is not your cup of tea. Despite all the intensity, overall this book is really hopeful and full of characters with a fighting spirit. There's so much more to the mystery that I can't mention without spoiling it for anyone, but it is certainly worth reading to find out.