Rembrandt is ten years old when his life is turned upside-down.
It’s 1928, and the Great Depression has yet to begin. Rembrandt’s entire world is his extended family, three households of farmers who live very close to each other, as farm houses go. He’s the only child in three families, and his aunts both want a child very badly.
So badly, in fact, that they’ll cut a deal with the Devil to get what they want.
To save his aunts’ souls, Rembrandt, his pa, and his uncle Thompson have to take to the road, never staying in any one place longer than twelve days. Because on the thirteenth day, the Black Bottle Man will come for them…
* * *
This one took me by surprise; it built so steadily, and so quietly, skipping from Rembrandt’s youth to his 90-year-old dotage, that I didn’t realize until the end just how much I had invested in it. The climax caught me off guard with just how much emotion it wrung from me. Not many books have made me tear up. This one didn’t, either, but man it was a near thing.
My only complaint would be that I found a few grammatical quibbles, here and there, but on the whole this book is highly recommended.
Written by Craig Russell, based on his radio play of the same name, Black Bottle Man is published by Great Plains Teen Fiction, an imprint of Great Plains Publications. My copy is signed because I went to the book launch at Pennywise Books here in Brandon.