From the Cover:
In the desert town of Richland, Washington, there stands a giant sycamore tree. Horribly mutated by nuclear waste, it feeds on the life energy of boys that it snags with its living roots. And when Teddy Matthews moves to town, the tree trains its sights on its next victim.
From the start, Teddy knows something is very wrong with RichlandÑevery kid he meets disappears before his eyes. A trip to the cemetery confirms that these boys are actually dead and trying to lure him to the tree. But that knowledge is no help when Teddy is swept into the treeÕs world, a dark version of Richland from which there is no escape . . .
Teddy wasn't asked if he wanted to move, but he knew deep down, that his mother needed this move. She had to make money, and with his dad out of the picture, at least he got to bring his stuff.
He aslo knew his mom worried about him. He'd never had a lot of friends, it was always so hard to make them. And now, there was this new town, in the middle of the desert, and he'll have to start all over. But, he's in luck, on his first day of exploring his new town, he meets Walter. He's a nice enough kid, maybe stuck in the 80's, but Teddy has his own little quirks too. When Walter panics about the town bully finding him, Teddy reassures him that he'll stick up for Walter. Walter is amazed, he's never had a friend before...
What Teddy doesn't know, is that Walter isn't stuck in the 80's, but Teddy has been transported back in time to the day of Walter's death.... and there are other boys, waiting to have their turn with Teddy, taking him back in time again and again.
The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham is a quick little read telling the story of what happens when a nuclear laboratory comes to a small desert town, without the knowledge of how to handle the waste and nuclear products themselves. But, it's early in the investigation of nuclear reactions, they don't understand the scope of what nuclear chemicals can do, especially when it seeps into the water that a wily sycamore decides is it's life's blood. And it is, the nuclear residue that the sycamore sips extends it's life for an unnaturally long time, but also makes it twisted with mutations.... and then the tree discovers something else it can live off of, but to do so, it has to capture souls... and who's more adventurous than the boys....?
The Dead Boys was a fascinating read, quickly grabbing my attention, and ever so slightly scary too. You begin to wonder if there is any escape from the sycamore, and just exactly what this intelligent super villain of a tree is going to try next in it's bid to stay alive. Lovers of YA fantasy/horror may want to take a look at this tasty little treat, it tricks your imagination. It was fun, creepy, and kept me turning pages. I'll be trying Mr. Buckingham's next read!
I received my copy from Planned TV Arts, all opinions expressed are my own.