Stay right with your brothers. Stay right with the Lord. Hit like thunder, and run like the devil’s nightmare.
One frosty night last December, I gripped a scribbled-on, pre-published manuscript of the fastest, scariest, most adrenalized book I’ve read in a long time: N. D. Wilson’s Boys of Blur. As a fan, friend, student, and babysitter of the Wilsons’, I had exactly until Nate and Heather walked back through the front door to finish it. So I raced.
The Wilson kids, in bed. The house, silent. My heart, sprinting.
Have you ever been chased? Really chased?
I have run from Grendel. I have run from the Hound of the Baskervilles. I have never run from anything as fast as I ran from the devils of Floridian darkness in Blur.
Nearly midnight. The front door opened. I was seventy pages from the finish line. Bouncing up and down on the couch, I squealed at the returning author and his (grinning) wife: “No! Go away! Go away!”
They let me take it home.
One fifteen in the morning, I lowered the book. Dizzy. Done. And wildly in love with this story of boys, brothers, swamps, stink, fire, fathers, muck, and monsters set in the secretive sugarcane realm of the Everglades.
Cramming in some of his best, punchiest prose yet, Nate gleefully shoplifts all the best stuff out of Beowulf, weaves powerful father-hunger throughout in thick, double strands, and gives the climax the Christ figure which the pagans so longed to see break the cycle of Cain-lust. From start to finish, it’s a remarkably neat tale with death and resurrection and everything in between all in the right spot but not the way you’re expecting and definitely not so easily that you aren’t absolutely sick to your stomach with fear Nate will forget he believes in happy endings. The book is so packed, so powerful, in fact, there’s almost enough for a trilogy here — except three books would defeat the point. The point is to run. Fast. We are racing mud. We are racing murder. We are racing curses and envy and the mother of all evil.
I’m also stoked to say this happens to be the best of Nate’s novels for immediate movie adaptation. Read it yourself and you’ll see what I mean. I vote J.J. Abrams for director (unless N. D. himself takes the chair — awesome), James Newton Howard for music, and a cast of Idris Elba (without his accent), Reese Witherspoon (with hers), Tom Hardy, Tye Sheridan, and maybe Jaden Smith (if he can run like he karates). Summer 2015. Let production start yesterday. No time to wait.
And to really make yourself sweat, just watch the book trailer below (narrated by the author himself).
Have you ever seen that video of Bruce Lee knocking someone off their feet with a punch starting an inch away from their chest? That is Boys of Blur. Faster than sight, and suddenly you’re airborne. It grips from the get-go and never lets up. Ever. Fists clenched, pulse hopping, I couldn’t slow down — and the only problem was that this white-knuckler, mystery-thriller, 100-meter dash ended so quickly.
The finished book (at last!) releases next Tuesday, April 8, 2014. I’ve preordered my copy. If Amazon Prime fails me (as it has before with another of Nate’s books), then I will dash to the nearest local shop and grab the first copy in sight and cancel all my appointments. It is time to run again. Time to feel the fear wing my feet.
Time to blur.