The Boy Who Drew Monsters

 

The Boy Who Drew Monsters (2014) is a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan is deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy's only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

 The filmmaker James Wan has bought the film rights, and the video above is by my daughter, Rose.


REVIEWS

“Clearly, we are in the territory of the wholehearted, up-for-anything gothic, which even as it undertakes a melancholic exploration of the lost, forlorn and bereft operates with the volume cranked and the plot on greased wheels. As a writer, Donohue always seems to know exactly what he is doing… he twists the screw on Jack with the finesse of an expert. It is a pleasure to watch him glide along, pulling one squirming rabbit after another from his copious hat.”— Peter Straub, The Washington Post

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“Ingenious… Donohue unspools his simple story patiently, delivering jolts when necessary, but mostly concentrating on the stress generated in a family with an unhappy childelegantly worked, with a nice chilly twist at the end.”—Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review

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“[A] chilling Christmastime horror yarn… Like a child’s attention, the book may seem to wander in its final third before ultimately revealing itself to have been horribly on point all along.”—Entertainment Weekly

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“A classically hypnotic horror story… The Boy Who Drew Monsters dissolves notions of reality and fiction and leaves behind an eerie narrative about what haunting aberrations might lurk just outside our peripheral vision.”—Tiffany Gibert, Time Out (New York)

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“A masterfully controlled example of the literary horror genre. The setting is vividly Gothic and evocative, and Donohue builds tension and fear in that strange, snowbound world at an exquisitely slow pace.”— Richmond Times-Dispatch

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“This novel ranks with the best of modern-day supernatural thrillers.”— Bookreporter

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“The novel is a pressure cooker, an airtight room with limited oxygen, and an astute study of the mysterious demons that loss breeds…. The book’s final twist—and by final I mean, like, in the very last sentence—is satisfying in a Sixth Sense kind of way, but the manner in which Donohue keeps us in the dark until then is the novel’s real reward.”— Popular Mechanics

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“This story is genuinely, deeply frightening…dazzlingly electrifying, full of portending dread, and genuine creepy scares. Never have I have been so unnerved by a novel, at least in some time, and as a literary horror novel, this succeeds on just about every level.”— PopMatters

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“Look out, Ichabod Crane. Donohue delivers a new gothic literary horror tome just in time for Halloween…. Let’s just say these spirits make the headless horseman look like a friendly guy.”—New York Post (Required Reading)

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“Donohue has created the slow, clicking, stomach-tightening anticipation of a roller coaster on the rise. He draws readers in with creative prose that outlines images that are both innocent and creepy.”—Portland Press Herald

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“With a mind-bending final twist, The Boy Who Drew Monsters—much in the tradition of the classic The Turn of the Screw—will leave readers shaking in their boots.”— Bookpage

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“Donohue’s writing is as evocative as Jack Peter’s drawings, both startling and heavy with emotion…A sterling example of the new breed of horror: unnerving and internal with just the right number of bumps in the night.”—Kirkus Reviews

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“The ghostly influence of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw haunts this chilling novel by Donohue … A brisk and winningly creepy narrative.”—Publishers Weekly

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“The novel unfolds through rich prose and a deeply imagined story. The final page—the final sentence, really—comes as a clever surprise, but one that resonates soundly. Fans of Donohue’s first novel, The Stolen Child, will be pleased.”—Library Journal


 The Brazilian edition by Darkside Books was a bestseller on Amazon (Brazil). Here is the publisher's video.