The Bright Lands (Hardcover)
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Ryan's March 2021 pick, 5 of 7
If Stephen King wrote a football book, it would be THE BRIGHT LANDS. This novel is dark, creepy, gruesome, vile, unnerving. Take the most uncomfortable scenes from IT and add a town that’s obsessed with the high school football team, and you have something like THE BRIGHT LANDS. In the town of Bentley, Texas, the high school football players get away with everything. Everything. People are going missing - have been going missing for decades - and finally, someone has taken notice and is starting to investigate. What they uncover is beyond anything they could have imagined and is horrifying in several ways. Fans of Stephen King, this one is for you.— From Ryan
A Best Book of 2020 from Library Journal, CrimeReads, and BookPage
"Marks the debut of an already accomplished novelist." --John Banville
The town of Bentley holds two things dear: its football, and its secrets. But when star quarterback Dylan Whitley goes missing, an unremitting fear grips this remote corner of Texas.
Joel Whitley was shamed out of conservative Bentley ten years ago, and while he's finally made a life for himself as a gay man in New York, his younger brother's disappearance soon brings him back to a place he thought he'd escaped for good. Meanwhile, Sheriff's Deputy Starsha Clark stayed in Bentley; Joel's return brings back painful memories--not to mention questions--about her own missing brother. And in the high school hallways, Dylan's friends begin to suspect that their classmates know far more than they're telling the police. Together, these unlikely allies will stir up secrets their town has long tried to ignore, drawing the attention of dangerous men who will stop at nothing to see that their crimes stay buried.
But no one is quite prepared to face the darkness that's begun to haunt their nightmares, whispering about a place long thought to be nothing but an urban legend: an empty night, a flicker of light on the horizon--The Bright Lands.
Shocking, twisty and relentlessly suspenseful, John Fram's debut is a heart-pounding story about old secrets, modern anxieties and the price young men pay for glory.