In Oleander they call it the Killing Night. One night, five murderers, no motives. Only one of the five lived and she's locked away. Locked away like the memories. Until the storm. The storm that rips the city wide open. The town is surrounded by troops, quarantined. Something dark has woken up in Oleander. Something that can make anyone a killer. And it's inside everyone.
The story is told from the perspcetives of Ellie: a girl that thinks God is speaking to her, West: a popular jock with a secret, Daniel: son of the local crazy man, Jule: unwilling part of the town's infamous meth family, and Cass: the only killer to survive Killing Night. The jumps in perspective help keep thing interesting and help build a sense of closeness to the book's characters. It also helps us see lots of the town slowly unraveling from different points and builds the tension to a fever pitch. Wasserman does a good job of developing the characters, so that even if you won't be crazy for all of them, at least one will speak to you. Then she starts the slaughter and no one is safe, so the fear gets ratcheted up fast and furious. I've read several reviews that compare this book to early Steven King and I think that is accurate and very intentional. It has a secluded small town going crazy, authority figures turning into mad despots, and several other classic King touches. It is bleak, depressing, terrifying, and totally riveting. It is definitely a long read and after some early mayhem goes for a long slow build, but it truly pays off. Wasserman handles the emotional moments and the building relationships with a deft hand. This makes the first deaths all the more shocking and the later violence almost numbing, with jolts of terror. It's quite effective as horror and also a clever look at the idea of the violence within our society. I'd definitely only recommend it to people that can stomach dark and violent reads, but for fans of serious horror this is one of the best books in a long while.
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