- Megan Bingham
I never will forget those nights
I wonder if it was a dream...
On April 10th, 1979, a disasterous tornado outbreak destroyed the towns of Red River Valley, Texas, leaving 20,000 without homes and killing dozens of people. It was nicknamed "Terrible Tuesday" by many meteorologists. The first killer tornado ripped through the town of Vernon and killed 11 people. Then, there was another one less than an hour later, that killed three people in Lawton, Oklahoma.
The third supercell was the one that formed near Seymour, Texas around 4:53 pm. The storm spawned a second one and moved through the south and east sides of Wichita Falls at around 6 PM.
In Richard Cox's new supernatural thriller The Boys of Summer, a group of friends from Wichita Falls find themselves changed by the event of the Terrible Tuesday disaster—a disaster that brings more than just tragedy.
Todd Willis is hit by debris and falls into a coma. Four years later, the now thirteen-year-old Todd wakes up from his walking catatonic state, and the world is changed around him. He finds four other boys in his neighborhood, who not only find his storm experience intriguing, but become mesmerized with Todd's strange relationship with the newly constructed world.
A song keeps going around in Todd's head, a Don Henley tune that has yet to be written. His brilliant friend Jonathan writes a short story similar to a Stephen King novel—one that hasn't been published yet. Adam, who lost his baby sister in Terrible Tuesday due to his own negligence, begins to feel unexplained urges toward violence. Eventually, the unusual occurrences culminate in a dangerous and firey end so disturbing, that the boys never talk about that 1983 summer again.
Twenty-nine years later, the Boys of Summer have split and moved on with their lives: some moving far away from Wichita Falls, some staying too close for comfort. Then, someone begins burning houses down—specifically places that the boys considered important to their childhood, especially during the summer of 1983. When disaster traps the city of Wichita Falls, the childhood friends will have to learn to come together once again to beat the evil that ravages their hometown.
Overall, The Boys of Summer is an excellent supernatural thriller. No doubt, readers will be reminded of Stephen King's famous horror novel IT and the hit Netflix television show Stranger Things, which will return in 2017 with a new season. However, unlike King's IT, The Boys of Summer alternates narratives between Terrible Tuesday, the summer of 1983, and the summer of 2008. This alternating method keeps Cox's plot devices going and removes the risk of boring readers with too much of the story all at once. Cox's amazing character-building and phenomenal story line will keep readers on the edge of their seat, as well as leaving them wondering what is going to happen next. A definite must-read for any fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and other modern supernatural thriller authors.