cover image The Hollow Boys (The Dream Rider Saga #1)

The Hollow Boys (The Dream Rider Saga #1)

Douglas Smith. Spiral Path, $24.99 (382p) ISBN 978-1-928048-26-8

After his ancient-artifact-dealer parents suddenly disappeared while the family was on a jungle expedition eight years ago, then-nine-year-old Will Dreycott, who is half Japanese and assumed half white, returned home alone with no memory of how they went missing. Now 17, an agoraphobic billionaire, and the creator of the Dream Rider graphic novel series, Will hides one big secret: the world from his novels is real, and when Will sleeps, he becomes the comics’ eponymous superhero protagonist and spends his nights gathering clues to crimes that he then passes on to journalist Harry. When teen boys start vanishing around town, Harry recruits Dream Rider along with Case, a Black teenager with the ability to hear voices warning of danger, who’s searching for her younger brother, Fader. Smith imbues this series opener with otherworldly intrigue, developing an elaborately layered plot via bouncy prose that capably shifts between the dream realm, with its monstrous inhabitants, and Will’s insular life. Depictions of close-knit relationships shine brightest throughout the novel, especially the familial bonds between Will and his parents and between Case and Fader, as well as the protagonists’ budding romance. Ages 12–up. (Self-published)