Title: The Night Screams
Author: Devon McCormack
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Length: 220 Pages
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Teen Fiction
At a Glance: I think this book is good for any age group—I was left with some positive life messages from this story.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn’t even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.
Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can’t bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he’s okay. But Cal’s trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he’s shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.
Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn’t trust Cal, and he isn’t afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake’s disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.
Review: The Night Screams is more than just mystery/suspense. It’s also a story about two young men coming of age. The MCs, Cal and Jake, are both teenagers. Jake and his friends are getting ready for prom and graduation. There are also moments of teenage angst, when jealousy and immaturity crop up. It’s that time of discovery, the time for having fun and making decisions for the future: college, jobs and relationships, but I think this book is good for any age group—I was left with some positive life messages from this story.
Jake and Cal have both come from abusive family situations, but they were fortunate in that Jake’s Uncle Gary and Aunt Luce wanted to care for them. Jake was lucky that Gary and Luce took him in when they did, and he never had to face the experience that Cal did. At times, Jake seems angry, not only at Cal but at Luce and Gary too, but I looked at that as growing pains. Throughout the story, both Jake and Cal have to deal with different traumatic situations: illness, death, and many different emotions.
Cal’s character is especially interesting. He has to deal with the terror of his kidnapping and abuse. He struggles to talk about it, even with his psychiatrist. On the outside, Cal always seems to be dealing well with his experience. He seems to be calm, peaceful and in control, but inside he’s still struggling and his self-esteem is still very low.
As far as the mystery part of the story goes, I thought the capture of Cal’s abductor went just a little too smoothly, but as the story progresses there are some subtle things that catch Cal off guard, and they just keep you on edge.
Because I’m not a teenager or young adult, I related more to Gary and Luce. As a parent, Gary was always there to smooth things over. He gave good advice to Jake, to always be himself. I could understand Luce’s point of view; as adults we make mistakes and we don’t want our children to make the same mistakes that we have. We also hope they learn to not make the same mistakes over again. Regardless of the situations, Gary and Luce always tried their best to be supportive, and gave Cal and Jake the home life that they deserved.
You can buy The Night Screams here: