Category: Upper Middle Grade
The old Gods are dead—or are they? In a dying town in the Nevada Desert, this question comes too late. When a small store opens up, run by the stranger, Owen Siris, it boasts to the ability take a person’s troubles away. In a place where the population is drying up as fast as the river, there’s plenty of troubles to go around. Brett certainly has his share, caught between his fear of being knocked around by his mother’s loser boyfriend Dennis and the the terror of watching an illness ravaging his last surviving parent. It's no wonder he jumps at the idea of a quick fix.
When he seeks Mr. Siris out, the last thing he expects is help for free. But that’s just what he gets, along with a strange stone beetle covered in hieroglyphics. Told to keep his ‘worry stone’ with him at all times, Brett obeys, and immediately notices a swift improvement in his life: Dennis seems to have ditched town, kids at school are starting to notice him and his grades are improving. The word about the miraculous Mr. Siris spreads, along with the worry stones. It isn’t until Brett begins to experience ‘dead time’ and can’t account for where he’s been or done that a deep fear grips him. And when Dennis’ mangled body show up, a victim of murder, Brett knows that something terrible is happening to himself and the town.
Together with Amber, another classmate who is alarmed at the changes resulting from her special talisman, they begin to investigate the stone artifacts and discover they are Egyptian scarabs, vessels believed to hold the souls of dead. Used in Ancient Egypt, these scarabs were placed in the care of the God of the Dead, Osiris.
It seems impossible that the God of the Dead has set up shop in Brett and Amber’s town, but how else can they explain the disturbing change over the townsfolk or the sudden midnight activity at the long-abandoned salt mine? Has Osiris come back to rein, seeking command of his loyal worshippers once more?