The Sacrifice Box

80s callback cover art
 The Sacrifice Box, by Martin Stewart

I was intrigued by the description of this novel when I first saw it, and eventually I got a copy to read.  It's very appropriate for RIP season!

On a small British island in the mid-1980s, September has been waiting his entire life to leave.  He's a misfit geek, and he has no friends, so he's put all his energy into earning a university scholarship so he can get to the mainland and start his life.  Four years ago, though, when he was 12, Sep did have friends.  For one perfect summer, he and four other kids ran around together.  They found an old stone box in the woods, and they decided to make sacrifices to it -- each of them would bring something important.  Then they made rules.

Never come to the box alone. 
Never open it after dark. 
Never take back your sacrifice. 

Once summer was over, the social forces of school kicked back in.  The kids dropped each other and never spoke again, until they were about to graduate.  Now their sacrifices are coming back to haunt them.  Somebody broke the rules, and there are consequences. 

The story is very good.  Like so many current offerings focused on kids in the 80s (that is, GenX people like me who are prepared to drop money on nostalgia), it's all about the importance and meaning of friendships, just like, say, Stand By Me.  There is a ton of Stephen King influence here, and you're meant to notice it.

That said, I've never been much on Stephen King, because I don't much like gory horror, and I tell you what, this story dials the gory horror up to 11.   It is very oogy, and I put the book down for a long time because I didn't want to deal with it.  I finished it because I wanted to know how it would end.  And it was a good story!  It was just also too gross for my taste.  People with stronger stomachs will love it.


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