Wave Goodbye To Charlie creeps across the page and like a cold finger to the spine makes you shiver, reminding you of ghost stories you once heard around a campfire. Suspenseful and macabre, the novel is peopled with bizarre and unearthly characters that make you search the shadowy corners of your room and set lights blazing against the dark. Author Eric Arvin, well known for his ability to create atmosphere from his descriptive prose, outdoes himself when he writes about the abandoned carnival on the outskirts of the weary small town of Devlin. Inhabited with deliciously strange people like the old woman, Nessa, who seems to apparate from thin air, to the violent and scary “Bull” who rules the only road leading outside the town, runaway hustler Charlie Boyd struggles to survive there, living in the old log flume ride deep in the heart of the rusting carnival.
Charlie is older than his tender years would make him and remarkably brave. As the story opens, the night finds him with a new-found friend, a fellow prostitute, Trent. Trent is everything Charlie has struggled against being: open and loving, trusting and eager. He captivates Charlie utterly and, after experiencing his first kiss, Charlie wonders if just maybe this might be what love is like, laughter and holding hands and a growing coil of excitement deep inside. But before Charlie is able to begin exploring even the idea of a friendship with Trent, the two boys make the mistake of traveling the road leading out of town and run afoul of Bull and his vicious dog. Running from the evil man in terror, the two boys divide and Trent disappears into the night, never to be seen by Charlie again.
But Charlie is not alone, for on the edge of the wood lives two men who have long been partners and whose love is wide and deep enough to include Charlie. As time goes by in this novel, Charlie will realize just how important Leroy and Jimmy are to him and what he will have to do to keep them from harm.
What a creepy and intriguing novel Eric Arvin has written. I was spellbound. The shocking conclusion to Part 1 in this story and the remarkable journey in Part 2 left me breathless. I honestly love a good horror story and Wave Goodbye To Charlie has all the makings of one and then some. First, the way in which Arvin weaves together phrases and words to create a tense and spooky atmosphere is really stunning. I felt immersed in the creepiness of the abandoned carnival and the dark and twisted woods that surrounded it. Then the author gives us inhabitants of his created world who seem just a smidge off and others whom you would never want to meet even in broad daylight. You begin to fear for Charlie and find yourself muttering aloud, “no, Charlie, go back, hide.”
And then, when you think this chilling ghost story cannot get better, author Eric Arvin presents the case for love. Suddenly, in the midst of this impeccably written horror novel, he places two men, a family of sorts for Charlie, who create warmth and comfort and a safe haven for our young hero. But lest you think they are immune to the danger that lurks in the woods, the author places them in a setting that is just as haunted and unnatural as the creepy carnival itself. Scene upon scene builds to a quiet and startling climax that pulls you up short at the end of Part 1 and forces you to plunge headfirst into the dark journey that is Part 2 of this novel.
I was fascinated by the tiny world that Eric Arvin created in this novel. I was scared witless at times and found myself tight with worry for the fragile characters that held tight to love with everything they were. Wave Goodbye to Charlie was a cleverly disguised love story that presented as an intensely creepy ghostly tale. It was chilling and exciting, drawing you right in from page one and pushing you full throttle to the closing page. Eric Arvin once again reminds us that he is a consummate story teller and presents us with another gorgeous story to enjoy. I highly recommend this novel to you and encourage you to keep the lights on while reading it.