I have only read a part of “Beast House” series and was unimpressed. The stock characters, predictable setting and the equally obvious monster. However “Funland” was different in a lot of ways from, what I have read of his “Beast House” series. It’s a book that offers us a cast of characters that is so to say the least eclectic and none the readers opinion of them shifts throughout the book. You find yourself rooting against and then for the same characters throughout as they stumble through their adolescent choices.
Ah! Yes the majority of the characters are a gang of teenagers that patrol an amusement park boardwalk “trolling”. This usually consists of terrorizing any homeless that they find after dark, at first limiting themselves to robbing and beating them their activities take an unintentional turn towards homicide.
The real meat of the book isn’t the seedy boardwalk populated by gang members and panhandlers or malevolent circus freak. The thing that grabs is you is the books portrayal of apathy towards others. The “Trollers” perceive the homeless as a uniform mass of perverts, drunks and thieves, some of the gang members having more concrete reasons to think this than others. Some of the gang members only go along out of boredom, or out of loyalty to the leader. A young woman who seems to cultivate a cult like loyalty among this group. Their view is that since the homeless terrify them and harass them for change, they should b run out of town. Is indicative of not just apathy but of a severely narrow view of their world. Over all the scares pale in comparison to watching the characthers and lamenting as you see them make regretful choices or cheering when you find them showing a streak of unexpected benevolence.