From Dathan Auerbach, the author of the horror sensation Penpal, a hauntingly dark novel about a young boy who goes missing, and the brother who won't stop looking for him.
Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. Vanished into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle.
Five years later, Ben is still looking for his brother. Still searching, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben's father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a job on the night stock crew at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.
Ben can feel there's something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and groans and beckons. But he's in the right place. He knows the store has much to show him, so he keeps searching. Except Ben misses the most important thing of all.
That he should have stopped looking.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
DATHAN AUERBACH lives in Florida. He is the author of Penpal.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Auerbach and all his work. Penpal and Bad Man are literally two of the scariest books I've ever read.
Ben is 15 years old when he is at the grocery store with his younger 3-year old brother Eric. Ben looks away briefly and Eric disappears. It is five years forward and Ben is haunted by that day. He misses his brother and keeps looking for him. His stepmother is depressed and only leaves the house once a year to go and get a birthday present for Eric, to sadly stack in his room. Ben finds a job at the grocery store where Eric disappeared. The family does need the money, though his parent's tell him to work somewhere else, anywhere else and that they will be okay. This one did not end how I would have liked it too. I so wanted Ben and Eric to be back together and to have a happy ending. I should have known this book wasn't going to go there. It did go into a nice depth of the devastation the family is going through when Eric goes missing. The whole family is devastated and they desperately want Eric back. Ben feels guilty, what if he hadn't looked away, what if that day had turned out different? It also comments how people around town didn't pay any attention to the missing person flyers. And that is true. How often do we all just walk by those posters without a second glance. That alone is something to think about.
"Somewhere in the distance, lightning lit the sky on fire, and it screamed in pain." Bad Man will be published on August 7 and is available for pre-order now. It is told from the point of view of Ben, a young man who lost his little brother 5 years ago and never forgave himself and never gave up searching. For some reason the police don't seem to care and his step mother is lost in her own world, still buying presents and holding birthday celebrations for her little boy who never came home. Ben's father doesn't want him working in the store where little Eric disappeared but he sure doesn't mind Ben bringing home a paycheck. His boss is a jerk and the other employees are a bit on the suspicious side. This was an incredible read. Bad Man has more layers than an onion, each one deeper and darker than the one that came before. A heavy pervasive creeping dread settled in my stomach with the turn of each page. I received an advance copy for review
5 Well-Earned Stars Review by Angelique Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Blog Nothing moved. But nothing felt still. Terrifying, dark and fearful things come in all shapes and sizes and bad things tend to happen when we least expect them to. You’ll find questions, answers and more questions in Dathan Auerbach’s latest novel, Bad Man. Finding yourself in a small Floridian town where the setting is so distinctively well done that you can feel the heat and sweat on your arms as you walk through each scenario. Meeting first and foremost the two characters which make the story, Ben and Eric, Ben being the older brother and Eric being the very young brother. On a trip to the local supermarket, and in a split second of moving his eyes from his brother, Ben is left with more than just an empty bathroom, he is left with a hole in his heart and a piece of his life missing. The characters from the balding, crude supermarket owner to Ben’s stepmother who still dreams of her missing baby boy makes you feel like you know these people. You feel what they feel and you wish to help make it better but as another twist or detail gets added you find yourself helpless but intrigued to continue even as the details gets more eerie. That fire, Ben knew now, had been hope. Following Ben through his struggle and pain and never ending hope, from the moment of Eric’s first appearance to the search and places where he could be, up to the end, is emotional. Not just for the loss of his little brother but maybe at times the loss of his sanity. It isn’t always easy reading a book that identifies with so many things happening in real life, but it’s worth it. Keep reading, it’s hard not to, until you find what you are looking for.
When I think about what makes a good horror story, one of the most important components is the atmosphere. Auerbach sets us up in a small Floridian town and then strips us of all sense of security and comfort. He surrounds his characters with grief, poverty, and suspicion, and therefore creates a perfect setting for this creepy tale that weaves real-life horror with a little something extra. Eric has been missing for five years and no one has any answers as to what could have happened to him. His big brother, Ben, was the last one to see him and seems to be the only one committed to still searching for him. When Ben takes a job at the same store where Eric went missing, strange things begin to occur that convince him that someone does know what happened to Eric and they're trying to reach out to him. But is it to help him or to stop him from asking questions? The Bad Man will leave you guessing. The unreliable narrator, the creepy store setting, and Ben's shady coworkers and friends all manage to introduce more questions as you read than they answer. I found the book to be quite engrossing; however, the ending was wholly unsatisfying in that there were several strings left hanging that made even the epilogue seem incomplete. I would recommend this book to lovers of horror and mystery that don't mind a story that leaves you with lots of questions at the end. This one isn't tied up with a neat little bow. And if you don't mind filling in the blanks for yourself, this is definitely the book for you.