On Barb’s Bookshelf: Two Novels by Larry Peterson

The characters got me hooked. The local twist kept me reading.

Larry Peterson’s two novels about the Peach family are terrific stories about a bunch of kids you can’t help but love. You’ll be so drawn in to their story that you’ll feel you’re a part of their world.

priest and the peaches

The Priest and the Peaches introduces the Peach family at a crisis point in their lives: the sudden death of their father. Their mother had died a few years prior, and these kids ranging in age from 18 to 7 are completely on their own as 1966 begins. Now the two oldest, Teddy and Joanie, have to figure out how to get food on the table and pay the rent for their Bronx apartment. They’re reminded, in the midst of hardship, just how much their father lived by his favorite catchphrase, “L-Y-N” (love your neighbor), what it costs to do this, and how living this way will change their lives.

The Demons of Abadon follows the family as summer approaches and their parish priest arranges for the two youngest boys, Joey and Beeker, to stay with friends of his in northwestern New Jersey. That’s where my parents and siblings live now, so I scoured that book to find the dividing line between the real locations mentioned and the fictional forest of Abadon. (The author even graciously helped me figure that out–and we’ve enjoyed a “small world” conversation about some places dear to us both.)

demons of abadon

The Demons of Abadon is an unsettling tale of a spiritual battle; the Abadon forest is infested by “darkened” souls who don’t want 7-year-old Joey, innocent and very in tune with God, anywhere near them. Strange and scary things begin to happen, and you’ll keep turning pages to find out what’s behind the disturbing events in Abadon and how the Peach kids and the Winters family who took them in will weather this spiritual storm.

Truth be told, I don’t often read scary books. When I figured out that this story takes place out in the woods of northwestern NJ, where my father and nephews often hike, I was tempted to email the author and tell him I couldn’t finish reading it. But I was already invested in those characters–I had to find out what would happen to them, and I’m glad I stuck with the story.

Be sure to read these novels in order, as the second book definitely builds upon the foundation laid in the first. Both books are appropriate for ages 12 and up.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I received a review copy of The Demons of Abadon from the author, but no other compensation. I purchased The Priest and the Peaches myself. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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