OK, I am kind of late in writing this review.
"Eerie," by Blake Crouch and his brother Jordan Crouch, came out in June, and I've actually read it twice, and enjoyed almost everything about it both times.
But I got busy building RegardingArts.com and with polishing my own novel and, ya know, life, and just kept forgetting to write my review.
Blake Crouch, who writes a lot, has already actually published another novel since "Eerie." It is called "Pines," and I have not read it.
The nice thing is, y'all can still buy "Eeerie" easily enough now, as you could have done in June.
As its title suggests, "Eerie" is not a casual walk through the park on a sunny Sunday.
The book opens in October 1980. Two kids, Grant and Paige, riding through the mountains in a car driven by their father, a baseball game on the radio. Everybody is sad because mom is dead. Grant takes a bit of fabric out of his pocket and puts it to his nose, to inhale his mother's scent on what had been her nightgown.
There is a crash. The two kids are injured, but there is no response at all from their father.
It's a very good scene - two kids, scared, freezing, worried about their future if their father is gone, and promising to take care of each other in life.
Then: "Thirty-One Years Later," and Chapter 1.
Grant is now an alcoholic police detective in Seattle, whose partner is Sophie, and they may actually love each other, although that has not been approached by either. She worries about his diet and his drinking. He just tries to keep himself together well enough to do his job.
They are both good detectives.
They are working on a missing-person case involving some upstanding men in the community who just disappeared, which usually doesn't happen to guys with money. They hit on the idea of looking into the men's sex lives, and use Facebook to cross-check the two guys' friends list.
While Sophie starts working on that, Grant goes to see his father, who is kept in a home. He is tied to a wheelchair and kept medicated, because otherwise he will hurt himself or others. Grant feeds him corn chowder that drips on his chin, and talks about baseball to his unresponsive father.
Grant goes home, gets email from Sophie, who found the missing men had five mutual women friends. Two of them seem straight enough, three look like they might be professionals in the oldest sense. Grant looks at their Facebook profiles, and immediately recognizes one of the women.
He sets a meet with the concierge at a hotel who has helped him meet his own needs in this regard in the past. The concierge knows the woman, but doesn't want to help Grant with this one.
"Haven't I always set you up with excellent companions? All top shelf? All Johnnie Walker? But let's shoot straight. Call it like it is. You're a red- sometimes black-label guy. This woman is Johnnie Walker Blue all the way."
The concierge doesn't want to help, but Grant, being tough and being a cop, forces him to make the call, while Grant enjoys some Johnnie Walker Blue -- $75 a shot - on the concierge's tab.
And so Grant is off for a joyless reunion with his long-lost sister, the high-priced hooker.
Now, a lot of very good writing has happened to get us to this point. The Crouch brothers write well of Seattle, capturing the feel of the rain and the neighborhoods, and they pain very good character pictures of all the main players in this game. There is a good amount of moral depth and agonizing going on that all makes for a good read.
But once Grant gets inside his sister's house is when the really weird stuff starts to hit the fan.
For one thing, he could get in, but he can't get out. When he tries, he is overwhelmed with tremendous pain that threatens to make his brain explode. His sister, as it turns out, has been a prisoner in her house for weeks, because of that pain.
There is definitely something spooky, something otherworldly at work, even though Grant finds it very hard to believe, and knows none of his cop pals would believe him if he tried to explain it.
The only people who can leave are Paige's customers, after they've been upstairs to sample her services. But they are seriously weird, almost zombie-like, as they march out. Where they go is a mystery. What happens during the sex is also a mystery -- Paige always blacks out when whatever what it is happens.
Grant is keeping all this hidden from his partner, Sophie, but knows it's only a matter of time before she shows up at the door, too. Another friend is killed, and Grant starts working at their problem like a detective, albeit a drunken one with some serious emotional issues.
It's very creepy, very well written and involving stuff. A true thriller.
I like this book quite a bit, except for the ending. I don't want to give away any more of what happens in the book, especially the ending, because it will be fun for you to read it yourself. And it's certainly possible that you will like the ending.
Crouch is a powerful writer with a lot of skill and talent. I've enjoyed the books of his that he's written, although I've always found them a touch dark for my taste.
But I've had very good times reading them.
I read this book on my iPhone, by the way, after downloading a Kindle app, although it is also available in paperback. Crouch published this one through Amazon.com's increasingly popular inhouse publishing operation.
It was a great way to read it. I could carry the book everywhere I went, usually in a shirt pocket. The only downside was not being able to scribble notes in the end pages, as is my wont when reviewing. But this book is so vivid that I didn't need much help remembering details.