I'm a fan of Frank E. Wales, so I may be a bit biased here, having read many of his short stories and some of his novels. When he offered me the opportunity to pick one of his books free, I immediately went for his first; not because I wanted to see his evolution as a writer, but for its theme. I'm simply in love with legends: urban or old.
And the bogeyman legend is one who is staying with us from humanity's dawn. Tales on this creepy kidnapper of kids have been told and retold, but Wales found a different approach to it.
He made it even scarier than the stories out there.
We are immediately treated to a terrible experience suffered by the protagonist, David. His son vanishes in the wee hours of night right under his disbeliever nose, but what he sees is enough to send him to the nuthouse for more than seven years.
Once he comes out, he has lost everything: his son, his marriage, his job, even his mind. Convinced he was the cause of his own son's demise, he tries to start a new life, but soon old horrors resurface and people around him start to die. This will lead him on the verge of alcoholism - and madness - until he meets Arthur, a hobo with a back-story very similar to his. Soon, they join forces to understand what killed their kids and most of all how to protect those they care for.
Booger is well written, filled with angst, and occasionally even cinematic (it would made for a perfect horror movie) but what will fascinate the reader is its dramatic ending.
The Booger - or Boogerman, as the scared kids call it - is something that both Lovecraft and Stephen King would love to add to their `unnameable things' cosmogony.
A must read.