Jeff Garigliano, Author . MacAdam/Cage $23 (360p) ISBN 978-1-59692-258-7 ISBN 978-1-59692-259-4

A 14-year-old boy with an affinity for all things military makes for an extremely likable protagonist in former naval officer Garigliano's dark, wonderfully twisted debut. Habitually uprooted by his beautiful mother, Cecile, Loren despises her ever-revolving carousel of dolt boyfriends, so he revolts by torching the golf course where Cecile's latest dish, golf pro Tom, tees off. Loren gets caught, and Cecile reluctantly ships him off to Camp Ascend!—a six-week rehabilitation program for young miscreants headed by Ray Kellogg, aka the Colonel, an ex-con scam artist who charges a $7,000 fee for treatment at the ramshackle campground staffed by the Colonel's suntanned, heavily coiffed wife, Kitty, and Kitty's sadistic, malevolent brother Donovan, who likes to play drill sergeant and torture kids. Loren, clever and smitten with pretty fellow “inmate” Liz, uses the skills of the seasoned operative to navigate and, eventually, defuse the escalating dangers at Camp Ascend! in a thrilling denouement. What initially seems like a wacky teenage romp morphs into a harrowing story about resilience, redemption and the will to survive. Garigliano excels with this sinister, superlative debut. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Hardcover - 360 pages - 978-1-59692-258-7
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