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Everyone has a monster inside
20 years ago, four friends awoke an ancient evil. Now it’s back, and only the Cemetery Club can stop it before the whole town ends up dead. Or worse. Rocky Point is a small town with a violent history. Mass graves, illegal medical experiments, and brutal murders dating back centuries. Of course, when Cory, Marisol, John, and Todd form the Cemetery Club, they know none of this. They’ve found the coolest place to party after school - an old crypt. But then things start to go bad. People get killed, and the Cemetery Club knows the cause: malevolent creatures that turn people into cannibal zombies. When no one believes them, they descend into the tunnels below the town and somehow manage to stop the killings. Now it’s twenty years later, and the murders are happening again. The Cemetery Club must reunite to defeat the menace once and for all. Except they can’t remember how they did it. It’s a race against time as they find the true source of the evil infesting Rocky Point and venture into the tunnels again to face their demons in a final showdown.
More than any other book I've written, this one was influenced by the stories of Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Rick Hautala. A small town, friends that come back as adults to finish something they started as children, an evil lurking below the streets... it's classic 1980s horror. And that's what I wanted it to be.
But here's the twist: it's based on an actual place in my hometown, and the events that occurred there.
Not far from me is an abandoned institution that was built in the 1930s. It was supposed to be an innovative care-giving facility, where people with extreme mental and physical handicaps could live out their lives in peace. It had bowling alleys and basketball courts, a hair salon, reading rooms, a farm, acres of green fields... all at a time when the mentally disabled were routinely treated as dirty secrets to be kept hidden away. Except money grew tight and overcrowding set it, creating squalor. Unethical doctors experimented on patients with untested vaccines. Trials were done on electroshock therapy and lobotomies. And the patients who died in these experiments ended up buried in unmarked graves. This continued into the 1970s, when a major news expose brought the terrible conditions into the public eye. Only it was too late. Funding never matched needs. Inmates continued to be raped and beaten, by each other and by workers. It eventually closed in the late 1990s, but the grounds remain open and the buildings still stand. I've been inside many of them, read the patient files. And I couldn't help but think of all the evil that had been done there. If evil really could infect a place, this would be it.
And I thought, what if it wasn't just the medical facility? What if there'd been a history of evil in that location, dating back to even before the town formed?
From there, I built the layers of darkness that eventually spawned something far worse than ghosts, worse than zombies, worse than aliens (although there's a little bit of all of that) in the town of Rocky Point. And in the process, produced what many people say is my most frightening book.