Dust by Arthur SladeAdolescent Fiction
I'm not sure what I expected when I started reading this book but it was one creepy story. And, it stayed creepy all the way through.
One summer day, seven-year Matthew disappears while walking to town. His brother Robert feels a terrible sense of guilt. After all, Robert was too busy reading to go with Matthew when his brother asked. At first, it seems as if it might be an accident but when authorities discover other children from town missing, there is clearly something sinister at work. At first, Robert's parents and the entire town are paralyzed with grief by the loss, but they slowly seem to recover and then forget all about their missing children. But, Robert doesn't forget.
Newcomer Abram H. has something to do with Robert's parents' forgetting and something to do with the missing children. Robert just knows it. But, how is all this connected to Abram's promise of a rain-making machine?
It had a very Stephen King/Neil Gaiman feel to it for me, although the horror was toned down a bit for the adolescent target. The story was creepy most of the way through but descended into out-right horror at the end. It's kind of like a psychological thriller, but....weird. It was a very interesting setting--takes place during a 'dust bowl' depression in Saskatchewan, Canada. I always pictured the dust bowl as an American phenomenon so that part was enlightening. I liked the book but I don't know how well adolescents would like it. It seems a long wait for the eventual pay-off.