Book Title: The Guardians
Author: Andrew Pyper
Release date: January 1st, 2011
“There was something wrong about a house people chose not to live in.”
Look, there really is no secret to my adoration of Andrew Pyper and his books. At this point the only two I haven’t read from him were ‘The Guardians’ and ‘Killing Circle.’ Why hadn’t I read them? Two reasons really – 1) Pyper is my grounding author. If I have no Pyper to read, what can I turn to when I’m struggling or in a slump? 2) God forbid, what if the unfortunate happened and for some reason I didn’t like one of them? I know, I know, probably not going to happen, but it’s a worry.
Then life hit. It’s a weird world we’re living in and with COVID-19 creating so much unknown and for many people a loss of enjoyment of normally enjoyable activities, reading has become a solitude for many.
For me – I went two days in a row without reading a book. That’s substantial. So, I decided to abandon my two current reads – and decided to dive into ‘The Guardians.’
I now really regret having waited so long to read this.
What I liked: This may very well be the first coming-of-age thriller/horror story I’ve read from a Canadian author, especially one of this magnitude (does The Troop count?). For me, Pyper is the best writer on the planet for a reason – every single sentence he writes is sublime, but he is always willing and capable of writing the gore-iest, scariest scenes out there. The book takes place in two time periods – Grade 11 in Grimshaw and present day aka 20 years later after the events in the past. We follow Trevor (Trev to his friends) as he returns to Grimshaw after a close high school friend dies. It is through the past and the present that we learn about the secret they kept from all those years ago, and how that secret created ripples through each of their lives until now.
Pyper crafted a gem here. In Canada the writing and pacing of this is akin to the show ‘Corner Gas’ or for the newer crowd ‘Letterkenny.’ This is small town Canada to a T. If you’ve grown up in the middle of nowhere you understand the phrase “Every small town has it’s secrets. Every small town also learns how to forget them.”
We get to see the relationships between the four friends, all members of the local hockey team ‘The Guardians’ and its through this friendship that unspoken things are agreed upon as only childhood closeness can allow.
I absolutely loved the ‘Memory Journal’ aspect that then lead into the present day going’s on. The book is filled with sorrow and despair at how things were and how they are now, but Pyper makes you connect with the characters, feel for them, but also desire to know just what happens.
What I didn’t like: It’s hard to sum up, but what I didn’t like was the main character Trevor and how much he reminded me of myself. Trevor left small town Grimshaw and owned a night club and was a big deal, according to him. He doesn’t want to go back, but he knows he must for his friend and to try and put closure on what happened all those years ago. I did a similar thing. For me, I longed and desired to leave where I grew up as fast as I could and for many, many years, I had my nose raised at those that stayed behind and never left. But who am I to judge? If they are happy, great. It’s their life. It took me many years to let myself let go of my snobbish views. So, reading how Trevor was acting and reacting reminded me a lot of my younger self. Uncomfortably so.
Why you should buy this: This book is going to stay with me forever, really. The small town setting, the characters, the happenings. It was just a perfect read at a time I needed a perfect read. It was also one of the scariest, nerve rattling books I’ve read in some time. Every time we learned more about the Thurman house and what was going on there, it became creepier and creepier. Pyper did such a stunning job of crafting a heartfelt story that is interconnected by a phenomenal ghost story.
I now only have ‘The Killing Circle’ left to read from Pyper and I’m probably going to jump into that in the next day or two. I’ve tossed aside the notion that I may not enjoy it, because frankly, Pyper is the perfect author voice for this reader. Time and time again he’s answered this horror fans call with a stunning read and he did it once again here.