Welcome to the small Midwestern town of Belford, Ohio. It’s a quiet, friendly town. On one corner of Main Street you’ll find Barb’s Corner Store. Opposite you’ll see the town square, with its neatly trimmed lawn and statuesque gazebo. There’s everything you need here. There’s even a local bogeyman. You know the type: reclusive, looks a little strange. The person all the kids are afraid of. Every town has one. Except this one is stranger than most.
Meet Mr. Joseph. With his severely crooked neck and nasty facial scar, the old man from Haiti is the one resident all the kids whisper about and are scared to go near. But there are things about Mr. Joseph no one knows about. He has no heartbeat. No breath passes by his lips. And he has been dead for over ninety years.
It’s summer vacation and fourteen-year-old Toby Fairchild is looking forward to spending a lazy, carefree summer playing basketball, staying up late watching monster movies, and camping out in his backyard with his best friend, Frankie.
But then tragedy strikes. And out of this tragedy an unlikely friendship develops between Toby and the strange old man across the street, Mr. Joseph. Over the course of a tumultuous summer, Toby will be faced with pain and death, the excitement of his first love, and the underlying racism of the townsfolk, all while learning about the value of freedom at the hands of a kind but cursed old man.
Every town has a dark side. And in Belford, the local bogeyman has a story to tell.
“The novel rivals the best of Stephen King’s coming of age prose…One of the best novels I have ever read.” -ScaryMinds
“A story that raises itself above a simple horror tale, THE AWAKENING resonates with heart while applying just the right amount of chills. Highly recommended!” – Ronald Malfi, author of THE NIGHT PARADE
“THE AWAKENING is a riveting and fascinating novel that really grabs readers. I loved that it’s a coming of age novel that thrusts readers into the story and won’t let them go. Brett McBean was already one of my favorite authors but THE AWAKENING is one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!” – John R. Little, author of THE MEMORY TREE, MIRANDA, and URSA MAJOR
“A coming-of-age tale that hit me in the gut, THE AWAKENING ranks up there with James Newman’s MIDNIGHT RAIN, SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons, and THE BODY by the grand master of them all, Stephen King. This is one that you’ll recommend to your friends for years to come.” – Pete Kahle, author of THE SPECIMEN
(LegumeMan Books edition – Out of Print)
From Ray Garton’s introduction (from the Tasmaniac Publications hardcover edition):
“(Brett McBean) lures us in and settles us into a story that is not designed to make us scream and hide under the covers, but one that lingers after we’re done reading it and haunts us. (The Awakening) has a heartbeat and a grip that pulls you in and keeps you from getting away.”
For as long as he can remember, fourteen-year-old Toby Fairchild has been afraid of the strange old man living across the street. Along with the rest of the kids in the small Midwestern town of Belford, he sees the reclusive Mr. Joseph as the local bogeyman.
Mr. Joseph’s life is an unhappy one. The memories of his past fill him with deep sorrow, and the kids of Belford have long been afraid of him, what with his unusual features and awkward gait.
However, when Toby accidentally discovers the remarkable truth about Mr. Joseph, an unlikely friendship develops. Over the course of the summer, Toby will come to know about pain and death; loss and the meaning of freedom, as Mr. Joseph recounts the incredible story of his past back in Haiti. A story laced with voodoo spirits, slave plantations, evil sorcerers…and zombis.
Toby will learn that monsters do exist – though not always where you expect to find them.
Drawing on my fascination with Haitian Voodoo, and my love for coming-of age stories, The Awakening is a horror/mystery/dark drama of a teenager’s tumultuous summer, as he deals with the joys and hardships of growing up, while learning about the value of freedom at the hands of a kind but cursed old man.
(Limited edition hardcover edition – out of print)
Tasmaniac Publications, 2012
Introduction by Ray Garton
Artwork by Erin Wells