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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Small Things: Small Things Trilogy, Volume 1 is an urban fantasy written by Joe DeRouen. Shawn Spencer was in a world of hurt and disbelief as he sat in a church, listening to a priest conduct his best friend's funeral service. He still couldn't believe that Tanner was really dead. They had been best friends since fourth grade, and they were going to co-own a car together soon. The thought that Tanner had drowned in the lake was completely ridiculous. They had spent hours fishing and playing there, and knew all the sinkholes and other dangerous places to avoid. Even stranger, however, than the official statement that Tanner had died, was his sister Jenny's assertion that he had been killed by a monster that had risen from the water while Tanner was swimming and had dragged him underneath the surface. Shawn knew that monsters didn't exist, but nothing really seemed to make sense to him anymore.
Joe DeRouen's urban fantasy novel, Small Things, is a dark and powerful tale filled with action, adventure, and the supernatural. Shawn and Jenny's investigative partnership begins with his fulfilling a promise he and Tanner made to teach her how to swim, but it soon appears that the two of them are being stalked by something demonic that wants to feed on them after it retrieves a talisman its master has commanded it to find. Small-town Carthage, Illinois has become a deadly place indeed, at least for these two teens as they try to stay alive while investigating the mystery they've become so deeply involved in. Tanner and Shawn's exploration of the local haunted house earlier that summer, an old structure that had supposedly been owned by one of Shawn's relatives, might have been the catalyst for everything that's happened. Shawn's determined to figure it all out -- if he can stay alive long enough.
Small Things is one of those marvelous stories that transcends genres. It's definitely a coming of age tale with just enough horror to keep the reader thinking about Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Robert McCammon's classic offerings, and that's a very good combination. Add to it an urban fantasy that reaches back through the centuries, and you've got the recipe for an unforgettable read. And that's exactly what Small Things is. I marveled as the story just kept on getting better and better and was quite pleased to discover that it's just the first volume in a trilogy. This is a thrilling and suspenseful tale that delivers and it's most highly recommended.