I'm re-running reviews of all ghost stories this month. This was one of my first reviews, and I wanted to highlight it again for Halloween.
My son loved this! Suspense, but not downright horror. He said it's "the perfect mix of fantasy and scary."
Ash is training, running in the mountain woods surrounding his parent's ranch, for the annual Stag Chase, just like he did with his Dad before he deployed.
Except on one run, right before his father returns wounded and war-torn, Ash thinks he sees a running boy pursued by the "hounds," a pack of 20 or so boys "running their prey to the ground." But the costumes are all wrong, and they boy is running like his life depends on it. Then Ash hears a shriek and he knows, in his gut, something horrible is happening to the runner up on Stag's Leap. But it can't, because it's just a race, just a marathon.
And then the mist burns away and they're gone, all of them, and Ash isn't sure what he saw.
But he's got to deal with his father's return, which isn't going well at all, and the long, slow loss of his best friend, Mark, to homelessness and mental illness, living out in a camp in the woods.
And something else, something made of the bones of everything dead in the forest, appears during another run and Ash, again, isn't sure what to think. Did it save him? Or did he escape it before it could reap him, like the ghost runner boy?
When it comes time to race, Ash knows he's running from more than just ordinary boys in a marathon.
I won't spoil it. This one was so good, we bought it!