12 years ago, a young boy and his father disappeared without a trace. Now, without warning, the boy, Lucas Jones, is back. However, he hasn’t aged a single day. Finding out whether it’s the same boy or some kind of strange coincidence is the task that lands on the desks of local police detective David King and psychologist Jean Symonds.
I’m not going to go deeper into the plot than that because I don’t want to give anything away. Much of the allure of this book is in the slow unravelling of the mystery, which happens at a glacial pace, not helped by the young protagonist’s inability to talk about his experiences.
There’s a creeping dread to the plot that’s completely at odds to Norm Konyu’s friendly-looking illustrative style, which on a quick flick-through, could trick you into thinking The Junction is some kind of kids book. While it doesn’t slip into horror’s often over-reliance on violence or shock, the eerie mystery is more unsettling than it appears.
However, it’s undoubtedly tempered by the illustration. The characters are simple and, as a result, lose some emotional impact. Likewise the backdrops, while beautifully illustrated and wonderfully creative, take the edge off what should perhaps be an unnerving other-worldliness. It’s not a jarring contrast, because the illustration is so slick and the story more psychologically disturbing than graphically troublesome, but I found myself caught in a slightly confusing melee of delightful art that just doesn’t quite gel with the plot.
If you can see past this better than I can, or you have a particular affinity for the style, you’re probably going to get more out of this than I was able to. However, in my opinion, the overall package is diminished by this clash between plot and illustrative style.