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The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess


The misdeeds of our ancestors are debts passed from generation to generation. They lurk, hidden in the shadows, waiting for the right time to be collected. For the residents of Harper Pass—their debt is due.

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When a young autistic girl goes missing from a small Appalachian community, the residents of Harper Pass descend into chaos. Brooks Raker and his friends stumble across the police investigation, and as they dig deeper into the mysterious events, the boys realize the fate of their missing classmate pales in comparison with the evil lurking in the shadows of the quiet little town.

With four boys who believe something sinister is at work, and an ambitious reporter breathing down his neck, Detective Holt of the Harper Pass Police Department must confront his doubts and follow the evidence. A chain of disappearances and suspicious deaths, leads Holt to the doorstep of the mysterious and reclusive Professor Wadlow who may know exactly what has come to collect in Harper Pass.

Can the detective and the boys work together to unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets devour them all?


It’s been a while since I’ve read a paranormal horror novel so I snatched this up and I wasn’t disappointed.  

When the Markland X Crew consisting of four boys decides to take on the town bullies, they discover a dark secret about their hometown that has been killing citizens of their town for many years.

Several years ago a tragedy happened in Grief Hollow when a young boy, Brady Palmer, was accused of killing his friends in a freak accident and placed in juvenile detention.  Now Brady is out of jail and trying to warn others about the evil he heard and saw that fateful day, but will they believe him?

Brooks always wanted to be a part of the Markland X Crew with Robby and Tee, and the day he was to be initiated turned out to be a frightful experience he would never forget when a young autistic girl was reported missing.

Now, with the help of Detective Holt (a fair and honest policeman), Brady and the Markland X Crew have to find a way to destroy the evil that lives in Grief Hollow, or the whole town will die.

This is an unexpected tale of young adult fiction, horror fiction, and the will to survive by swearing to never leave your team behind. The characters are believable and Mr. Burgess places the reader into the young minds of boys on the cusp of manhood who want to be part of a group and beat the bullies whoever they may be. Detective Holt is between a rock and a hard place trying to understand and explain the unbelievable things he has seen and Burgess does a clever job of dealing with that implausible issue.

Overall, I certainly enjoyed this exciting and suspenseful thriller with a Stephen King feel.  I was so caught up in the story, I didn’t know how late it was when I finally finished it at 3 am. If you like middle school humor, gory events, and fast-paced action, give this debut novel a try.  It will leave you gasping for air!  Recommend highly.

Thank you to Mr. Burgess for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel. Follow him on his website and on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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