Ford St Publishing
Honestly, my first thought as I really got underway with this new offering from Martin Chatterton was: the Stranger Things fans are going to LOVE this! Lo and behold when I visited Martin’s website before beginning to write this review, he makes the same comment. Always good to know you’ve got the right take on a book – haha!
It’s Australian Gothic horror/dark comedy at its best and if you have those readers who seek out the somewhat bizarre or unusual plot lines, make sure you get this on your orders list now.
14-year-old Theo Sumner lives in a Queensland mining town, Scorpion Falls, where he is a bit of a loner – and often a victim of school bullying. His best friend Ari and her parents run the Iguana Motel, where Theo works after school. His mother is wheelchair-bound with MS and things are exactly a picnic for Theo either at home or elsewhere.
When a creepy stranger moves into the motel and even creepier things start happening around Theo, he begins to see a very different side to dull and boring Scorpi (start thinking Upside Down style!). Cue the samecreepy stranger finding a pair of ‘gooey’ eyeballs on his bed, and Theo’s mum admitting she put them there – and away this twisting and turning plot goes! A mysterious white van, the apparent abduction but then re-appearance of Theo’s nemesis, a student (who has apparently never existed) being dragged into a store room and vanishing without a trace – all this and more is doing Theo’s head in.
Teenagers disappearing, fake cops, robotic spiders, winding subterranean tunnels, a kid literally laughing his head off – it’s all unravelling in a completely disturbing and spooky way in Theo’s world.
Chatterton explores themes of trust, friendship, exclusion, racism, identity and mortality. The sting in the scorpion’s tail will completely blow readers away and I’m looking forward to my first kiddos to read it to see their reactions!
Highly recommended to your secondary readers who love the quirky or weird pseudo-supernatural particularly.