James Sneddon, The Tolltaker Reviews

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“The Tolltaker ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 11/04/2004

The Tolltaker
James Sneddon
Five Star, June 2004, $25.99, 298 pp.
ISBN 1594141460

After four years, Judy Burke is convinced that her husband died in Vietnam even though her son and her father-in-law believe he is alive. Determined to begin trying again, she moves out of her in law's home and into an apartment in a nice complex. Bobby is determined to hate the place because living next door is Nick, the man his mother is dating. Not only does he have to deal with Nick, he has to pay the schoolyard bully a dime everyday as a toll for crossing the playground.

Bobby makes a friend in the new neighborhood who tells him about the TOLLTAKER, a monster living in the tunnel part of the long drainpipe. The monster's bill for entering his lair is that person's life. When Bobby enters the tunnel, he thinks the story is an urban legend until he senses strange thing. As Bobby's problems merge yet pale next to his agoraphobia, he must find the courage to face his enemies, monsters, and fears.

The scenes in the tunnel will remind readers of Stephen King's IT but THE TOLLTAKER also finds his way into Bobby's dreams. This allows him to become closer to his mother when he wakes up screaming from the horrific nightmare. The protagonist, besieged and beleaguered from all sides has an inner strength that allows him to protect his friend from harm. James Sneddon has written an exciting horror novel and a coming of age story in one neat package.

Harriet Klausner

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