Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine—with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered. Still, there are certain places he returns to. In the midst of the tumultuous city, they are havens of solitude: like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace—safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him . . . and seep into his darkest nightmares. But not only his dreams are haunted. The city he roams with Harley has secrets and mysteries, things explainable and maybe unimaginable. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight. Hints of things disturbing and strange nibble at the edges of his existence, even as dangers wholly natural and earthbound cast their shadows across his path. Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative . . . that may yet catch up with him.
As this was a novella, I was able to read all 120 pages at work tonight. Dean Koontz used to be one of my favorite authors, I read everything by him. Over the past ten years, that has changed because he has changed. Gone are the days of Watchers, Whispers, Midnight and Phantoms.
This novella is one that I found predictable and not the least bit surprising. I almost stopped part way through because I am not a fan of stories involving devil worship or child sacrificing but, as it was just a novella, I pushed on.
If you take away the dark side of the story and look at the characters, Crispin is a likable character, as is the dog Harley. I thought it jumped back and forth between the past and present too much to be comfortable reading – especially for a novella.
Overall, I can honestly say I wish I hadn’t read the book – I hope it doesn’t affect my dreams. I give the story a C because it is wallows in predictability. No gore though so that kept it from getting a D. 🙂